Friday, September 22, 2006

Will History Be Kind To George W. Bush?

For a change, George Bush set his eyes on the future. Chit-chatting with a select group of seven conservative journalists in the White House last week, the president made known in his usual cock-sure way how he would like to be remembered fifty years from now. He said, “I firmly believe that some day American presidents will be looking back at this period in time, saying, ‘Thank goodness they saw the vision.’”

This is so not the George W. Bush we have come to know over the years. The George W. Bush we know loves to ride his toughness made in Texas, loves to demonize his critics, and loves to give a damn about what other people think. No one has ever accused him of being a visionary, so I presume he took it upon himself.

Bush is thinking long-term; nothing wrong in that, except he's screwing the present.

He further expressed his hope to leave behind "…something — foundations and institutions that will enable future presidents to be able to more likely make the tough decisions that they’re going to have to make.”

This sounds like he's been trying to make the job of the future presidents easier. That is, how to take tough decisions in tough times without breaking a sweat, which certainly has some merit because the future guardians of America don't have to look any further than the 700+ signing statements of the current guardian.

There is a minor problem though. Chances are good that soon after he retires from the presidency, "patriotic" citizens might be frantically searching for the remains of the foundations and institutions — and perhaps, restoring them back to what they once were.

That would make Jefferson happy.

To sum it up, Bush is convinced that his rapidly backfiring policies that embody the "toughness" at the cost of core American values will somehow stand the test of time and someday, even if that day is half a century from now, the much vilified president will get the due he thinks he so rightfully deserves.

I would be foolish to speculate whether history will be kind or harsh to George W. Bush. Scores of visionaries had been routinely hung and left to dry in their times for what they thought was the right thing to do. And Father Time has only vindicated their positions and the principles for which they once willed to be the last men standing.

I cannot help but to think Bush could not be more wrong in his assessment.

Never before in history has someone been so eager to wield the executive sword and cut down the foundations and institutions. He believes that's a good thing. He perhaps forgot that his legacy is etched on the abuses of the constitution and the laws. How could he be possibly vindicated later? What could possibly go wrong in the future that could prove him right?

There are pretty good reasons why people around the world look up to America when their own existences are at stake. It's no coincidence. America holds an envious record of filtering the right from wrong, and perhaps, more crucially, installing the appropriate checks and balances to protect the “rights" from the future possibilities of contamination.

In his six years of presidency Bush has left the entirety of the American soul in jeopardy. He's failed, time and again, to distinguish his doctrine from what is truly American. Fifty years from now, I could still be proved wrong, but somehow I doubt that.

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