In 2001, we sat before our televisions and watched our current president give the State of the Union for the first time. His hair was slightly darker then, and the wrinkles in his face didn’t sit quite as deep as he spoke with hope and optimism about our future. We watched as he squinted his eyes and promised to revitalize our educational system. We shifted closer to the screen as his crooked smile guaranteed quality health care and pledged to ease our dependency on oil. And as his speech concluded all those years ago, we were humbled by his Texas eloquence, as he assured the American people he would “Make Americans proud of their government.”
Five years have passed, five times President Bush took that sanctified podium, and five sets of promises went unkept. He proposed and signed the No Child Left Behind Act, whose high-pressure tests were used as the sole component in judging schools across the country. The result of course, has been a failure Mr. Bush refuses to admit. Due to extreme under-funding and negligent planning, the policy has implemented a narrow curriculum, has frenzied school officials to inflate statistics, and has failed to increase the US educational ranking in comparison to the world.
As the years passed we entered a war, and health care and oil dependency took a backseat to Bush’s own agenda. It was not until now, seven years into his presidency, that he has offered a plan to unravel the healthcare issue, which was widely discredited in Washington as based around tax incentives. Poor families do not need incentives to buy health coverage; we’re not talking about buying a hybrid car, we’re talking about saving lives. Every family in this country has the desire to buy insurance – what they need is cheaper coverage. Tax deductible premiums are not enough. Washington knows this, but Bush refuses to admit it.
So when he addressed the nation for the seventh time, he declared, “Decisions are hard and courage is needed.” Mr. President, it does not take a courageous man to hide behind a podium and blur reality with doublespeak. A man of true courage and strength would stand upon that podium to admit his mistakes and resolve them in the future.
Here now, on the eve of the most important stretch of his presidency, he has turned his gaze away from courage once again. The next two years of this presidency will determine not only how the history books will judge him, but they will also brand this nation with an eternal fate. He had one more chance to face his nation and begin the course of repairing. Instead, he will send 20,000 more troops into Iraq, continue No Child Left Behind, sign an ineffective health care plan, and steady his knees to blindly push policies he will not admit are flawed. This, or he will blatantly ignore his transgressions, smacking them with the cold back of his hand as they crouch on the floor. This is what he did to the city of New Orleans by not addressing their troubles in his speech, by not having the courage to admit his mistakes.
So what now, as we wait for yet another year to pass and wait for yet another set of lies and un-kept promises to unfold? We must have faith that a new Democratic majority will have the courage George W. Bush lacks.
We must have confidence that they will admit mistakes, and not blindly push these boulders over a cliff that drags down our entire county.
Corey Ciorciari is a sophomore majoring in creative writing and business management. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.