Moral Contradictions

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

This tragic fall

I just looked at the numbers from the latest Washington Post/ABC poll on the President. His current overall approval is at 33%, down five points from last month's poll. I looked through the data and was astounded at just how far he's dropped.

In October of 2001, following September 11, 92% of Americans approved of his performance. I remember the raw emotions of coming over the hill on 395 in Arlington and seeing the blackened hole in the side of the Pentagon with the Washington Monument and Capitol looming on the other side of the river. I remember the church member who barely survived while all of his 20+ office mates were killed. I remember the President standing amongst firefighters and others at Ground Zero when the chants of "USA! USA!" started.

Despite the anxiety threaded through our collective conscience, there was a sense of hope and unity. We were fresh from a bitter and contested election, "Monica-gate" wasn't far behind, and all of a sudden we were divided into "reds" and "blues". Yet, in those days immediately after the attacks, the realization that our differences were actually unifying yielded a comforting peace - we would move on, together, as Americans.

Somehow that potential was squandered - 2008 can't come fast enough for the President as his agenda is stuck in the mud of the field of his own sowing. Pressing moral issues such as corporate reform, health care, election reform, and even terrorism, either took a backseat or were exploited for political gain. So-called "wedge" issues were brought to the forefront to win votes instead of solving problems.

We need a new course. I don't care if those who lead us have a "D" or "R" or "X" after their name. We need someone to unify us, provide a vision, and make tough yet pragmatic decisions that will benefit a majority of Americans, not just a select few.

Until respect for our Constitution, humbleness of our power, and acknowledgement of our least is achieved, we will remain bitterly divided and thus collectively weakened, to the detriment of all.

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