A number of observers more qualified than I to pass judgment on George W. Bush’s State of the Union address earlier this week have noted the absence of the slightest trace of a call for Americans to sacrifice or to share significantly in the burden of the current crises that afflict us. It was all a matter of “trust”—a word that occurred at least a dozen times in the speech, and about which I am writing at greater length in my Huffington Post blog, to be posted shortly. It was a matter of “You trust us, we have the solution to every problem. Just do my bidding, and everything will be okay.” Well, this was the subtext, anyway.
Given the record of the Bush administration in coming up with solutions to serious problems, I say “Fat chance.” No more trust from this quarter, at least. Not that there ever was much anyway.
The most offensive part of the speech, for this listener, was the mockery this “President” chose to heap on those ready to make a sacrifice to help those less fortunate, and to get the country back on track. “Others have said,” he proclaimed, delighted with his own incisive sense of humor, “they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm. I’m pleased to report that the I.R.S. accepts both checks and money orders.”
Ha ha ha. It happens that I am among those pitiable people. I am not as fortunate as some, but more fortunate than many. From having lived for many years in Europe, I know how relatively little Americans are asked to pay in taxes, and I am always bewildered—and frankly irritated—by the whining self-pity that characterizes virtually every conversation on the subject over here. Speaking for myself, I would prefer to have good schools and transportation systems, a humane medical health care program, and care for the poorest of the poor. (I would prefer, of course, to spend a good deal less on weapons and the technology of destruction, and regret what I judge to be a misuse of the money that I pay, but that’s another issue.)
To be mocked by the childish sarcasm of this man is galling. It is doubly galling when he uses the privileged platform of his formal address to the nation to indulge in such inanities. I wish that the Congress of the United States had the balls to impeach him for his abuse of office and the Constitution, and for his lies.