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Just Say It

 

By Malcolm Shore
 
So, it’s the day after the Inauguration, and I had just opened the New York Times
 
I turn to the Editorial page and encounter these words in a piece about Obama’s address: “In about 20 minutes, he swept away eight years of President George Bush’s false choices and failed policies and promised to recommit to America’s most cherished ideals.”
 
Wow! Naturally, after reading this, I instantly assumed that Obama had immediately withdrawn all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. That he had closed down not only Guantanamo, but Bagram, along with the other secret, and not-so-secret, U.S. torture sites throughout the world. That he had issued an executive order overturning Bush’s spying program, and apologized for voting in favor of it in July. That he had called on California to immediately repeal Proposition 8, and apologized for marching in lockstep with its supporters during the November election. That he had reversed his earlier stance, and vowed to end Bush’s faith-based initiative immediately. That he had announced a massive aid package to New Orleans, specifically geared towards building new homes for all the displaced residents Bush abandoned after Katrina.   That he declared an immediate end to all ICE immigrant raids.
 

 

And, of course, that he had announced he would prosecute Bush Regime officials for their innumerable crimes against humanity.
 
That’s obviously what the Times meant when they said Obama “swept away” eight years of Bush, right? I mean, why else --
 
(Hold on, somebody is whispering something in my ear)…
 
I’m back. I’ve just been informed that Obama did not do all of these things. Any of these things, excuse me. He did not do any of these things.
 
Ok, fine, but give the guy a break: It’s his Inauguration Day! He had a whole national unity address to prepare for! What was I thinking?! How could Obama be expected to do any of these things I mentioned when he was hard at work making Americans feel good about themselves again? Come on – priorities, people!
 
But, tell me this: Obama at least said he was going to do all of these things, right? That’s it, yeah. I’m so silly. I took the Times literally when they said he had “swept away” the Bush years.   Of course he didn’t actually reverse the Bush agenda all at once! They just mean he promised to do that in his speech.
 
Phew! For a minute there, I was starting to worry- -
 
(You’ll have to excuse me, but somebody is whispering something in my ear again)…
 
I’m back again. You’re not gonna believe this, but it turns out Obama didn’t actually say he would do all these things, either. (pausing for reflection)….
 
Hmm… (pausing some more)….
 
Well, OK, but I mean… (still formulating my thoughts here)…
 
Well, we gotta be realistic! Yeah, that’s it.  Realistic. Seriously though, look at all the damage Bush has done after the last 8 years. Who is Obama, Mr. Fix It? 
 
Are we really supposed to “hope” he can “change” everything in a way “we can believe in?”
 
 I just scrolled up the page and read the list of everything I was expecting Obama to have said in his address. Ha! I mean, who was I kidding? It would take at least…. umm… years to even say all of that stuff, let alone actually do it.
 
OK, I feel better again now. I’m an optimistic guy and all, but even I was beginning to question –
 
(Ugggh. I can’t get a moment’s peace around here. Someone is bothering me again, wanting to talk about politics or something)….
 
OK, I’ve got some bad news. Are you sitting down? It turns out Obama didn’t say he was going to do any of those things. Not a single one.  
 
People are still being slaughtered in Afghanistan, yep. And Iraq, too.
 
I know, I know, I couldn’t believe it either!   Hundreds of people are still being held with no charge at Guantanamo, and hundreds more at Bagram, with no trial, no charge, and no timetable for their release.  And undoubtedly, as we speak, they are still being tortured. Same goes for who-knows-how-many more at U.S. prisons around the world.
 
Who knew?!
 
Wait, wait, I’m not finished yet. The government is still spying. Gay people still can’t get married in California. The faith-based initiative is still firmly in place. New Orleans natives still can’t come home, and have nothing to come home to in any case.
 
And I guess immigrants are still being hunted down like dogs, beaten to death by racist mobs, and ripped away from their families.
 
Oh yeah, and not a word about investigations, much less prosecutions.
 
(Long pause)….
 
(Thinking)….
 
 (Thinking) …….
 
OK, actually I just thought of something. I do have one more question:
 
“WHAT THE HELL IS THE NEW YORK TIMES TALKING ABOUT?!”

 

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