Cheerleading America into doomsday

A friend of mine, research psychologist by trade, claims that among the people we come across during our lifetime, those who are close to us during our late adolescence get to know us best. Better than our families; better than our spouses or mates. An interesting theory, I must admit, but a theory nonetheless.

This brings me to W. Bush and his post-puberty days at the Phillips Academy . To date we have heard, if infrequently and without great detail, from some of his acquaintances at Harvard and Yale, classmates and even professors, but nothing much has come to light from his stint in Andover during those early 60’s.

Two well-known journalists, Sam Allis (Boston Globe) and Seth Mydans (NY Times), and three head honchos from the world of Academe (Duke, Yale School of Management, and Cal State- Monterey Bay) were part of his ’64 Class as was Richard Wolf of “Law and Order” TV-fame, yet a discreet polite silence prevails. Is political civility having the last word, or could it be something else? My guess is that a nondescript cheerleader, male at that, did not leave much of an impression at Andover worth recounting… but perhaps I’m wrong, and the seeds of cheer-leadership had been slowly sown.

Perhaps it’s just as well that Americans are kept in the dark. Many of us have seen enough during these past four years to draw a clear picture of what Bush is all about… a man long on arrogance and unfettered lying, and short, very short on compassion and intellect. No need for any of his contemporary Andoverites to come out of the closet and add to the fray.

Heroes and exalted political leaders are more often than not the result of a lucky poker hand, or an occasional well-timed bluff. Bush’s 9-11 did provide him, in spades, with a political winning hand domestically… in perpetuity, it appears. Yesterday, on the third anniversary of the infamous attacks, Bush’s remarks that “The terrorist attacks on September the 11th were a turning point for our nation” seemed to hit the mark… except for two words: our nation. He should have said “me” instead of “our nation,” for that date certainly became a turning point for him. To the dismay of much of the world, and many of his thinking compatriots, Bush’s designated Patriot Day (9-11) seems to render him impregnable to criticism… any type of criticism, whether dealing with security, economic, or social issues.

The power of 9-11, Bush’s talisman, has helped turn America into shambles since he took office, an America of the “haves, and have-more”… for the have-nots are not acknowledged as “productive people.” Many more Americans are now in poverty, or without health insurance, or without job, or without that hope in the future that always made America singular. And let’s not forget the trail of corpses… for if Al Qaeda terrorists killed 3,020 people during 9-11, Bush’s misdirected response has brought death to over 21,000 people, 1000 of them his countrymen.

Quite a legacy the former cheerleader from Andover is leaving us. But wait… he wants to be given another four years to bulldoze what’s left of the socio-economic structures built during that enlightened era which existed in the past. Bush second term agenda: a flat sales tax in lieu of income tax; a Supreme Court far more to the Right than the one which gifted him the 2000 election; and a full membership for America in the realm of Third World nations, at least for one of the two Americas which co-exist today.

Less than two months from the election, Bush is asking us to keep him at the helm. But, are we ready for a second round of wealth redistribution? No doubt that he will spare no resources to fight global terrorism… but lining his friends’ pockets in the process? After all, terrorism owes much of its growth to him. Will it be Syria , Iran , Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan next? Are we ready to let our Commander-in-Cheer lead us with his favorite cheer, “Bring them on!”?

Sadly, leadership in America has been replaced with cheer-leadership!