Finally! The end of a bad chapter, and the beginning of a new Obama era! Today Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America, and literally millions (maybe Billions), including myself, watched it on TV around the world. Obama seems to not only be hope for the people of America, but for the rest of the world, who have seen after 8 years of Bush, what a bad president can do to screw up the world for all us non-Americans.
I’ve been very critical of Bush between friends and on this blog, it’s usually my main argument (although I still haven’t met anyone who actually voted for Bush!?) with my American friends, and it’s why I’ve started caring more about American politics than my own country’s. So I thought for the last time I would put some final words on Bush, before moving onto bigger and better things, hopefully along with the rest of the world! Reason being, is I can’t help feel like Bush has really got away with everything he’s done, there’s been absolutely no accountability, he continues to be as smug as ever on TV, and I guess there never really will be…essentially Bush has been the biggest embarrassment of the United States in the past 50 years, and I guess by admitting publically the mistakes he’s made or the mistakes America made in making him their leader, would be a sign of weakness for the country, so instead of making Bush and his administration accountable, we just let him quietly out the back door. Perhaps that’s the most productive thing to do in these crises, blame never got anyone anywhere, but it certainly does make people feel a whole lot better about things! It also still worries me that 1/4 Americans still think Bush did a good job! That just shows some deep problems in the US, many of which I have seen myself while living there, and I hope Obama will be able to change during his presidency.
Firstly the good things about Bush. Because of Bush, all the world’s problems such as global warming, energy politics, the credit crunch, the middle east and terrorism (ok not all directly but in most cases he made them worse!) have become such huge problems that people HAVE to make changes. Because of Bush, Obama now has a much easier ride to push through all the changes America should have made 8 years ago, maybe even before. So we must thank Bush for his part in this. By continuing with his backwards policies, ignoring the Kyoto protocol, invading Iraq and pretty much turning most of the world against America, everything has begun to cumulate into a huge global crisis, and fortunately this time, America did the right thing and voted for someone with the intelligence, and right ideas to actually correct these problems and hopefully leave the world a better place for us all.
Now the bad things about Bush. He has left global warming and energy politics unaddressed for 8 years now, the damage of which we may not find out about until its too late; his war on terrorism, which included the invasion of Iraq, has only alienated most of the world and made America even more of a target for extremists; he has preached a mantra of fear to Americans, not hope making the US lose what made it special, the American dream and all it inspires; he has made so many political gaffs the word Bushism has entered the English language and made America a laughing stock around the world; his affiliations with deeply conservative Christians has hampered important research into stem cells, potentially putting the US behind other countries in this very important field….overall he’s shown what a rich, spoilt, intellectually challenged Yale student surrounded by conservative rich Republicans can do to a country, and the world, when given the chance.
When I watch this clown on TV, and the BBC showing several clips on their website of Bushisms and other clown moments, I honestly wonder do I really blame Bush and think he’s a bad guy inside, or just feel disgust at how someone like him managed to become leader of the free world? When I watch the clips and look back through his career, I don’t think he is a bad person, if he hadn’t been president for the past 8 years, I may have even thought he was a funny guy, but the fact is his incompetence has really screwed up so many things, and allowed his vice president Cheney, who I believe is the real arsehole behind many of the darker things in Bush’s term, to have far more power than any previous president before him (and hopefully after!).
Ultimately I think Bush made people hate America because he put a public face on all the things the rest of the world dislikes about America, its supposed arrogance to believe because it’s the strongest it can do what it likes (like invade Iraq without global or UN support), the stereotyped dumb America many of us saw growing up through TV like Jerry Springer, where only in America a person as dumb and incompetent as Bush could be voted to lead the entire country without a revolt, a complete ignorance about anything not American (highlighted almost immediately in one of Bush’s first interviews when he couldn’t name half the world leaders!) and a complete selfishness to live excessively without a care in the world about the rest of us like having to abide by any Kyoto protocol even though the US is by far the biggest polluter per capita in the world! All of these things Bush represented, and all of these things are the worst side of America, the America people disliked before Bush, and will continue to dislike after unless it changes!
And that’s the thing, we want America to be great, fortunately I’ve lived there several times now and can say that the broad stereotypes I painted above, and a lot of people in Europe have about America (especially if they haven’t been there properly before) are wrong…at least on the East coast where I’ve spent most of my time. But Bush has bought all the worst stereotypes back to the centre again, I can only hope Obama can push them back again and break America out of those stereotypes.
Finally, if you’re American and reading this, if you don’t already, you have to understand your country IS the most powerful country in the world, and your leader by default IS the most powerful leader in the world. Your leader affects all of us, so if you feel foreign policy is not a key requirement of your leader, think again. Everything your country, and your leader does in the world affects all of us, and right now those issues are not just making the world worse for the rest of us, they’re making it worse for Americans too, and this will always be the case in this interconnected world we live in now. You have to think about both America’s needs and the worlds needs when you vote, or you will just turn the world against America once again, and remember when China finally rises to become a major super-power, that will really mean something. I’ve said it before, but in an ideal world, I wish the rest of the world could have a vote in your elections because your elections truly affect the rest of us.
So here’s to Obama, may he bring the change to America that is so desperately needed and has been asked for by the rest of the world these past 8 years. We all want a great America again, including us non-Americans so you can count on us now for our support in making America, and the world, a better place! And as for Bush, is there a room 101 we can stuff him in and just forget about him or are we going to be subjected to lecture tours around the world by him for the next 10 years….I hope not or this won’t be the final word on Bush!