Published on Monday, January 2, 2006 by The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin)
Our Nation Could Use a Better Year
by Dave Zweifel
Happy New Year!
At least let's hope it is a happy one because for the country we all love, 2005 was a real bummer.
There was a time when America was looked up to by the rest of the world, a symbol of decency and caring. We were known as big and tough, but for the most part we didn't act like bullies.
That reputation has been squandered in recent years as we now know all too well. Europeans think we're arrogant and without scruples. The Arabs hate us. Still others think we're stingy and unhelpful.
It was only five years ago this month that a new president and vice president took over in Washington and assured us they were bringing morality and "honor" back to the White House.
There wouldn't be any scandals like Bill Clinton's tryst with Monica Lewinsky and surely no lying to the public like Clinton did when confronted by a special prosecutor who had spent two years and millions of dollars trying to get the goods - any goods - on a president he despised.
Pardon me for writing this, but I'd much rather have a president who lies after getting caught having extramarital sex than one who lies about everything else.
At least Clinton's peccadillo didn't lead to a war, then torture, then wiretapping without warrants. Yet all these decisions were made by the current president, who lied to the American people about every one of them.
When Clinton - and most presidents before him - made important and controversial decisions, he included leaders of Congress and others in making them, not a handful of insiders sworn to super secrecy. He didn't send decent people like Colin Powell to the woodshed, but actually brought in people who disagreed with him to at least hear them out.
The more we learn about the inner workings of this White House of supposed morality and honor, the more we discover how dishonest it is with so much of what's important to the country.
But I haven't given up hope. Perhaps in 2006 this president and vice president will come to understand that what they're doing is hurting, not helping, our country. Like the rest of us, perhaps they'll actually turn over a new leaf in this new year.
Yes, we can all hope. But let's not hold our breath.
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