“I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me.”
Individual, human perspective is such a quirky thing that it’s quite difficult to get a group consensus on anything more political than how we’re all going to set our clocks. Here we are, as a nation, about to inaugurate a new president who has, from his very first announcement of his intention to seek the office, purposefully and calculatingly portrayed himself as the new embodiment of Abraham Lincoln, while at the very same time we bid farewell to the current president, who has reminded me more of the actual Lincoln than any other I’ve seen in my lifetime.
Clearly, we have very divergent perspectives at work here.
George W. Bush is the seventh president I’ve watched in action, and of all the other men who’ve held the office, he seems to have been the most like Lincoln. On many levels, actually.
From the very beginning of G.W.’s presidency, with the vituperative campaign to dis-entitle his election, the nation was torn apart emotionally, if not formally. Abraham Lincoln’s election with a mere 39% of the popular vote was the impetus for Southern secession and the formation of a temporary, but absolutely separate nation on American soil. In very short order, Lincoln faced the Confederates’ firing on Fort Sumter.
President Bush had been in office a mere seven and a half months when al-Qaeda carried out its long-concocted plan to bring down the Twin Towers and strike the heart of our nation’s capitol. For a very, very short time, it seemed that our United States would rally and come together for what promised to be a protracted fight against the global forces of terror that emanated from the Islamic world. But that unity was so short-lived that it is now but a vague recollection, briefly restored each year for anniversary solemnity.
A mere ten days after our generation’s day of infamy on 9/11, President Bush gave an address to both houses of Congress, in which he declared America’s intentions. His quite eloquent summation included this determined proclamation:
And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.
From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice, we’re not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security.
On October 2, 2002, President Bush received from Congress the 22-point Joint Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force in Iraq, a quite formal, simple, straightforward resolution of war against the Hussein regime. In March of 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom was initiated, with vast public support. Less than eight months later, Democrat Fat Cat George Soros told a Washington Post interviewer that President Bush’s words above, “for us or against us,” reminded him of “Adolph Hitler and the Nazis,” words he heard as a child in Hungary.