Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Bush who cried wolf

With the economic apocalypse looming, I find myself in a strangely reflective mood. Could be that things are just so campaign-crazy I have checked out, but a lot of it has to do with witnessing a bunch of people thousands of miles away fighting like school children over my money. It is watching them try their darndest to afix blame, and I honest to goodness don't care if it was the Democrats, Republicans or the Easter Bunny - I'd just like them to talk it out.

What is most striking to me about the whole thing is how completely irrelevant Bush's influence is. When he speaks, you want him just to please, be quiet and don't make things worse.

I try and imagine what it would be like if there was a strong leader in his shoes. One who had... what's that word...?... oh. Respect. I mean, the infamous "fool me once" gaffe Bush made eons ago is tragically applicable here. After crying wolf so many times, how can he expect anyone to listen to what he wants?

After 9/11, people were so scared and the country in such shock, we said hardly a word as we were quickly stripped of so many civil liberties. I mean, hindsight is 20/20, but I try to imagine a president who, instead of constantly reminding us of how much danger we were in and telling us to go shopping, was both realistic and reassuring, and gave us real, helpful suggestions on what to do to help the cause. It's not as if our intelligence was bad to begin with - we had the memo. I have no doubt the government has stopped many bad situations we don't know about both before and after 9/11 - but I don't think that Americans living in a constant state of fear has done a bit of it any good.

Then, of course, the Iraq war. We MUST do something now. Or else.

Or else what? I remember a whole lot said at the time of some mighty big weapons that were going to rain down on my head if we didn't act immediately. So soon after being atttacked in such a horrific way, how easy was it to believe that such a thing could be possible?

Now Bush actually really, really needs that credibility. I honest to goodness do not know if what his administration's plan has cooked up is the right thing - though unfettered control over something sounds eerily familiar - but I do know that if he honestly believes acting right now, immediately, no questions asked is the best thing for the country, he used up that argument quite a while ago. As I watched him arguing his case on CNN, I couldn't help but think of the boy who cried wolf. When the wolf was actually breathing down his neck, nobody would believe him.

Unfortunately, the wolf is not breathing down his neck so much as 99% of the rest of us. I think the top dogs, the ones who can afford to lose a few million, are going to be just fine. But I made the unfortunate mistake of looking at my 401(k) and confirmed that I'd lost about 10% of what I had. And it's not even "the worst" yet. The wolf is breathing down my neck, and it seems there's not a whole lot I can do about it but hope our elected representatives get a handle on things. Soon.

In the end of the fable about the boy and the wolf, it is not the boy who gets eaten by the wolf after all. It is the flock.

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