I’ve been wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with this date and slogan for over two years. And I can’t believe January 20, 2009 is finally upon us. I feel like a veil is being lifted and like victims of oppression who suddenly become free of their oppressors, I am both filled with hope and anxiety when I consider the future ahead for us. Things will not change right away and some things will be hard for Barack Obama to right. These eight years will not go away that easily.
The actual attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon seem far in the past (although their effects do not). The Iraqi and Afgani Wars, Osama and Al Qaeda –it’s hard to believe George W. Bush has been in power during this whole period. It seems like forever (it has been forever). I am less naïve and see our success as a people much more tied to the rest of the world. George W., you showed me that over the years. Your actions spoke volumes. And I learned the hard way by your mistakes and missteps.
Early on I felt isolated from many Americans, those who saw your policies in very different ways. I’m gratified after eight years I am no longer in the minority. It took awhile but those missteps became onerous to most. But many paid a high price and sacrificed their lives because of your decisions. I don’t take terrorism lightly but I’m hoping there are other ways to fight it. I am looking forward towards a more humble period in our history.
I started Life Outtacontext in February 2001, just as your first term began. But it wasn’t until 9/11 that I began to write about the “News Outta My Control.” As a reaction to September 11 I created Dichotomy: It Was a Matter of Time and Place as a way for others to tell their stories, pairing missives from those who were affected directly by these attacks with those who experienced them via the media. I just received my most recent contribution just last week.
During the last few days I’ve been taking stock of the last eight years through my writings here. Below is a list with links to my thoughts these last two Bush terms. Some of these stories remind me that some of us have an incredible ability to analyze our situation accurately (unlike the Bush Administration’s WMD assertion), like Seymour Hersh. In a 2003 post he tells us that it’s Pakistan, not Iraqi, that should concern us the most. Or like Steve Mehallo’s 2003 poster for peace that says “Make Jobs Not War. We’re starting to see the light now.
Others remind me that I can be outspoken in quite an idiosyncratic sort of way: here, here, and here. (Oh, and don’t forget here, here and especially here.) Some pieces I am even proud of. Freedom fries be damned!
While just a regular “Joe” citizen, living in Washington has over the years given me access to the centers of power. Like the time I ran into John Ashcroft on the street, or when my wife and I were invited to Vice President Cheney’s house. And sometimes politics got personal. It’s been a hard, but interesting eight years. September 11, the Iraqi War, the 2004 and 2008 Presidential Elections, Katrina, and the economic dive-bomb. It’s all here.
The list below seems so nice and tidy. But life for all of us has been far from it. To better times!