Outgoing President Bush bid farewell to the Nation last night. Those who tuned-in to watch W's smirking, awkward cold grin and folksiness for one last time, saw the concluding episode of a Presidency that had become a very bad sitcom long-overdue for cancellation. In some way, it was (like these past eight years) painful to watch Bush desperately try to assure us America was "better" and "safer" from his tenure in office. Especially, since his face was unable to conceal the many lies and obvious pain buried underneath.
Bush said nothing new to the American people last night. But, why would he? After all, there's no good way to justify incompetence and outright villiany. Instead, Bush painted himself out to be the lone cowboy. The outsider. An unpopular heroic father-figure, who always knew better than his foolishly misguided children about the big "difficult" decisions of the world. But the only person Bush was still trying to fool was himself. We gave up on him long ago.
Admitedly, Bush opted-out of using his signature arrogance and swagger that had so characterized previous speeches. In fact, at one point, Bush even looked like he was going to break-down and cry. And who would blame him? After all, he fucked-up - big time. Maybe a part of him realized rhetoric will never erase his ruinous record? Sure, the decisions he made were "difficult", but perhaps they could have been a lot easier if guided by logic and reason instead of stupid fear and stubborn blind faith?
W's closing remarks stuck to the theme of his presidency - 9/11. Bush said,"This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house, September 11, 2001. ...As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did." ...No. ...No, he didn't. In fact, the biggest criticism I have of the Bush presidency is the way it fetishized 9/11 for it's own imperial gains and never tried to heal the nation's wounds. Bush instead used 9/11 every chance he could as if he was pouring lemon juice on a wound. The attacks were a tragedy, but Bush also still pretends "America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict." ...Wrong. American foreign policy has created many enemies and Bush's decisions have likely only created more.
The propaganda Bush fed to Americans over the past eight years tried to paint America as some "innocent" bystander who has always only been here to help. Such rhetoric works for feeble minds too weak and/or scared to admit they're not perfect. But, to be fair, this attitude is only a coping mechanism; after all, a heroic explanation to account for the death of the many who served in the armed forces or who died on 9/11 is easier to process than to admit and associate such deaths with the same greedy gangsterism that has defined American foreign policy since its inception. Ultimately, isn't this the real function of propaganda? To make us believe something we know is false?
I admit, some sick part of me will miss Bush. Sure, he was a crook, bumbling fool, war crimminal, croney, and hypocrite; however, he (as Richard Nixon was for the late Dr. Thompson) - never let me down. I always knew he would fuck things up and he did. But I won't miss him that much; after all, I would rather be surprised by a President who could actually make things better than to suffer through one I know never will.
So, farewell Mr. President, looks like we "misunderestimated" you after all. Let us now hope History will tell your story and truly give it the justice it deserves!