Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Same Shit, Different Year

Last night’s State of the Union Address by George W. Bush was a typically meaningless exercise in boredom and banality. Perhaps because I’m looking forward to not seeing another George W. Bush State of the Union Address I was not angered to the point I usually am.

What angers me more than Bush’s predictable litany of applause lines is the response to him by the Congress.

I understand that it is customary to stand and applaud the President of the United States when he enters a room, but the audience at the State of the Union last night, like in previous years, stood and gave Mr. Bush a rousing ovation, then did it again after he was formally introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Honestly, I cannot think of anyone in that chamber less deserving of a standing ovation than George W. Bush. Yet, without fail, our elected leaders stand and clap like a bunch of trained seals.

I would prefer a parliamentary system, where a prime minister has to take hostile questions every week and report to the elected body every day. I would even prefer the chaos of the Taiwanese parliament to the disingenuous pageant we fake our way through every year.

One would also think that George W. Bush would want to make his last State of the Union Address one where he attempts to salvage something from his time in office with a graceful exit, perhaps striking a conciliatory tone, if not dropping to his knees and begging our forgiveness. Instead, Bush displayed his usual smirk and threatened vetoes like a smug and arrogant man heedless of his own disreputable presidency.

We should have seen a man humbled by his failures. Instead we saw a performance worthy of Bush’s infamy, and why so many are looking forward to his long overdue departure.

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