Commander-in-Chief. Leader of the Free World. Both have become synonyms for President of the United States of America, and both beg the question: What set of qualifications does one need to hold such an office? Honesty and integrity go without saying, but what about near peerless intelligence and understanding of the underpinnings of politics? What about the ability to lead—not the kind of leadership that comes packaged with a title and billions of dollars in corporate cash—but the kind that comes from possessing a gift for bringing people with disparate views together in a collective effort to serve the greater good; to consider and reflect the will of the people? To quote Spock, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of few." Yeah, it's a cheeseball reference, but it's an efficient, effective summary of what the presidency of this country should be about. But over the past four years, the factual evidence proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that the needs of the few have taken priority over the needs of most of the country's populace, not to mention the rest of the world, under the administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
The Bush-Cheney administration needed to offer tax breaks and no-bid contracts to their largest, riches corporate campaign contributors. Bush and Cheney needed to afford tax breaks to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to strap the rest of us to our jobs so firmly that we'd hopefully have little time, energy or resources to turn our attention toward effecting the kind of change necessary to make the lives of most Americans better. They needed to unrepentantly strip jobs out of the United States and ship them overseas to make working class Americans fearful of unemployment and, therefore, any political dissent whatsoever. They needed to proffer a health care plan that ultimately costs Americans more money and benefits only the pharmaceutical companies while legislating choices like the ability to purchase prescription drugs at affordable prices from foreign countries like Canada to ensure the proper pockets would continue to be sufficiently lined. They needed to mandate an education plan they'd ultimately fail to fund in order to dupe Republican ticket voters into believing they gave a damn. They needed to go to war with Iraq to secure oil interests and justify egregiously inflated military spending. They needed the war in Iraq to divert attention from the unfinished, partially failed mission in Afghanistan. They needed the war in Iraq, they believed, to instill a culture of fear into the hearts and minds of their constituents—you and us—to cement their positions in the ultimate seats of power, so they could continue to brand their freakishly out-of-touch, dangerous agenda into the foreheads of Americans and the rest of the world. And they've needed to remain vague and offer no answers whatsoever to many a straightforward question in a concerted effort to remain in power and continue in their efforts to own as much of the world as they can under the guise of national security and the so-called War on Terrorism. As frightening as it is—or should be—to most sane Americans, they've succeeded to a large extent.
How has it been possible? Aside from the crimes committed in the effort to place the 2000 election in the hands of the United States Supreme Court, where it absolutely and constitutionally didn't belong, the success of the Bush-Cheney administration has been largely due to the pig-headed refusal of an alarming number of Americans to bother themselves with studying the real issues that face our country—the numerous among us who decline to consider actual facts. Those who can't help but soak up the dishonest propaganda and blatant lies vomited up by FOX News, Sinclair Broadcasting, a host of spineless, half-brained right wing radio broadcasters—including Albuquerque's own Larry Ahrens and Jim Villanucci—and well-compensated, partisan liars like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
By the same token, we'd prefer it if Democrats and likely John Kerry voters didn't put much stock in obviously contrived and left-loaded propaganda such as Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and hyper-lefties like Al Franken and those of his ilk. Once the rhetorical nonsense, exaggerations, pointless soapboxing and cowardly personal attacks on both sides are stripped away, several important things become crystal clear.
Most importantly among them, based on the factual evidence and a rational worldview, George W. Bush—Mr. Mission Accomplished—has done the incredibly hard work of reversing virtually all of the headway the United States had made during the previous decade with regard to foreign policy, the environment, the economy, job creation, social security, health care, education, stability and safety. For nearly (and we're being kind here) every hard-fought step forward that was taken prior to 2000, the Bush administration has taken at least three steps backward. As a result, the sad truth of the matter is that the country and most Americans are worse off in almost every respect than they were pre-Dubya. And we defy anyone to produce any solid evidence otherwise. Most appalling, though, are Bush's cynical attempts at avoiding reality when he says all is well in Iraq and in the next breath promises to pay down the disgraceful deficit he created, if he gets a second term.
Fact is, you've been lied to, cheated on, purposely deceived and trampled under repeatedly, whether you're willing to admit it or not. And there are an alarming number of Americans who aren't—folks who've been sucked in by spin-crafted speeches about supposed morality, how the best defense is always a strong offense, how admitting to and addressing obvious mistakes is a sign of weakness and, most importantly, how thinking for oneself is somehow unpatriotic, unAmerican and undermining to the troops who were forced into a wholly unnecessary war. Yeah, and the earth is really only 10,000 years old, prayer trumps actual fact and Jesus supports the war in Iraq. Laugh if you want, but these are just a few of the zingers George W. Bush believes.
The question we asked ourselves when considering our endorsement of the 2004 presidential race was this: Can America and the rest of the world afford four more years of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their team, or would we, as a country, be better served by John Kerry and John Edwards?
In consideration of the current state of the union and the world, we came to our conclusion quite easily. The Bush administration represents the kind of elitist politics that, in other parts of the world, is known as a monarchy—the rich get richer, more powerful and influential while the poor and middle class get poorer, less fairly represented and further indentured to Bush's "big government."
The promise of a Kerry-Edwards administration lies in the (crazy!) idea that the United States would do well to build alliances with like-minded allies in an effort to spread freedom and democracy by example rather than by pointing guns and tank barrels at brown people. That diplomacy in all affairs is the best initial offense and defense. That morality, honesty and integrity aren't just ambiguous concepts or campaign buzzwords that are forgotten once Candidate Moron is back on the bus. That owning one's missteps and mistakes equals character. That the capacity to visit new facts and analyses and change one's mind for the better based on such new information is admirable.
The promise of the Kerry-Edwards administration lies not necessarily in the reversal of the damage done (which, in some cases, is impossible), but in the fact-based knowledge the Bush-Cheney administration has continually and stubbornly rejected in the aftermath of the blunders—many of which were purposely committed—that have occurred under their watch.
The Alibi wholeheartedly endorses John Kerry and John Edwards for president and vice president respectively. Get 'er done!