Hating George W. Bush sometimes feels like a full-time job. I get up in the morning, open the paper, and it's Bush World. His ruinous handiwork is all over the place, whether it's Putin threatening to start a new Cold War, another Neanderthal anti-Enlightenment skirmish in the U.S. or some fresh hell in Baghdad. I turn on the TV and there he is, uttering reality-averse platitudes while mangling the English language in his best frat-boy twang. And then there's the Internet, where my bookmarked band of rhetorical assassins stir facts and commentary about his wretched tenure into a damning cocktail that I happily imbibe.So what's Gary Kamiya's solution, after the champagne popping celebrations he is planning for January 20th, 2009?
It isn't surprising that Bush is deeply implanted in my brain -- when you're the worst president in modern history, you tend to work your way into people's psyches. But it's still a little strange. I've been forced to deal with this wretched president for so long that hating him has virtually become part of my identity.
This is, as the hippies used to say, a lot of bad karma. To tell the truth, I don't know if I actually hate Bush. I'm not sure if you can hate someone you don't actually know, and I'm not even sure if I really hate anyone. But I definitely feel every other negative emotion you can imagine toward him -- anger, contempt, fear, disgust, outrage -- so let's go ahead and call it hate. And millions of other Americans are in the same boat.
But this is all going to change. Pretty soon, we won't have Bush to kick around anymore. And I've started wondering: What are we going to do then?
The challenge, as we prepare for life after Bush, is to hold onto the political passions his dreadful presidency inspired, without becoming a completely political person. To take the negative energy he created and turn it into something positive. To learn to see a full spectrum of ideas and opinions, throwing away the monochromatic goggles we have been forced to wear during the last six years. And to carefully water and tend to our own gardens, which have grown thin and unappealing during these dry and wasted years.As regular readers know, I have already made this leap with my new blog, Riding The Juggernaut. I am also spending a whole lot more time on my Australian campaign blog, Howard Out.
The Bush administration is now a slow-motion train wreck. The big question is how many more people will be killed, and how much more damage will be done, before the disaster is finished. But watching and documenting the slowly unfolding process prompts the same feelings of morbid revulsion as watching the gossip magazines's 24/7 vigils of Nicole Richie, Britney Spears and/or Whitney Houston.
Unfortunately, it is still vitally important to hold the Bush team responsible for their crimes, to maintain the pressure on the Democrats to build a more responsible system of US government, to make vital changes to the electoral and lobbying processes, and so forth. Bush might be a fatally-wounded lame duck, flapping around misably in a squalid puddle of his own excrement, but it's not time to look away just yet.
UPDATE: When I called the Bush administration a "train wreck" I never expected John McCain to agree with me!