January 19, 2009

The Bush Years: It’s a Wrap (But Hardly a Pretty Package)
Bush's Last Day

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!

The Remains of the Day September 11, 2001
Reliving Ground Zero January 28, 2002
Remains of the Day: One Year Later September 11, 2002
My Radar is On September 28, 2002
Not Waiting for the Earth to Stand Still February 5, 2003
Reality TV verses Reality: It’s a Toss-Up February 12, 2003
Which is Scarier: Incident No. 2 February 15, 2003
Empire Building Makes Strange Bedfellows February 22, 2003
The Nature of Evil and War March 2, 2003
A Transformation March 3, 2003
Bombs Bursting in Airwaves March 8, 2003
One More Time, Mr. President March 11, 2003
Posters for Peace March 13, 2003
In His Own Blog March 14, 2003
A Pain in Any Case:
A Parable for the Ides of March
March 15, 2003
I’ll Take Mine Straight Up and Neat March 18, 2003
On Being an American in America March 25, 2003
A Protest of One March 29, 2003
Reporting the Business of War March 31, 2003
McLuhan: Live and in Real Time April 6, 2003
And Now for the News April 10, 2003
Freedom of Expression Proof of Purchase April 26, 2003
When Looking Back,
Remember to Look Where You’re Going
September 9, 2003
The Essence of Physical Memory September 11, 2003
If It’s True Love Let’s Be Honest September 14, 2003
A Chance for an Entounter October 6, 2003
Politics As Usual October 12, 2003
CNN: The Most Trusted Monument in the Free World April 20, 2004
A Close Encounter of the Political Kind May 23, 2004
Telling a Good War Time Story May 29, 2004
In Search Of July 4, 2004
Carpe Diem July 5, 2004
Split Screen Decisions October 2, 2004
Anatomy of a Decision October 2, 2004
Bush Hesitates as He Ponders His Future During Presidential Debate October 3, 2004
Living in a Black and Blue Country October 10, 2004
A Neighborly Encounter from the Right October 16, 2004
Dream Locally, Act Thoughtfully October 18, 2004
Turf Wars October 22, 2004
An Artist’s Endorsement October 27, 2004
Leaves: The Great Divide November 7, 2004
What Not to Bring to the Inauguration Parade January 16, 2005
Finding the Extremes: Inauguration Day 2005 January 21, 2005
Soviet America Resampled June 8, 2005
Revising the Pledge July 3, 2005
Living on a First World Edge September 2, 2005
A Piping Hot Meal, the Military Way September 3, 2005
We’re Old Enough to Know Better October 23, 2005
Leaving Iraq: Literally November 12, 2005
I Was a Pre-Teen Pro Marksman October 29, 2006
A Parable for Reconstruction November 5, 2006
I Was a Pre-Teen Pro Marksman October 29, 2006
A Hole in One! November 8, 2006
Running Into Politics February 8, 2007
Reminding Us for Twenty-Five Years November 13, 2007
Time Out for Some Political Commentary Reality September 8, 2008
Les Misbarack September 13, 2008
It’s 3 a.m. Who Do You Want Answering the Phone? September 16, 2008
Do Your Trust This Man? Look At the Details. September 28, 2008
Leveraging Political Power in the Blogosphere October 19, 2008
Notes From an Exhausted Real American October 30, 2008
The Composite Sum of Obama’s Face/a> December 6, 2008
Sizing Up the Inauguration January 16, 2009
Inauguration Porta-Potties #2 January 17, 2009

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Come on, Jeff…Tell us how you really feel! ;-)

Posted by: Rob on January 19, 2009 9:41 AM

Nice post. I just walked across the Mall on my way to the Smithsonian. It’s an amazing place filled with energy, hope, and lots of Obama stuff to buy. D.C. probably hasn’t seen/felt this since JFK came to town!

Posted by: Howard on January 24, 2009 8:06 AM

Comments are now closed for this post. But there are a few other entries which might provoke an opinion or two.

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