Published on
the Bangor Daily News (Maine)

Our Leaders Don't Care: 'So?'

Do you know who I'm hands-down the most impressed with in the entire nation? I am most proud of 52 percent of the population that thought the president and his cronies were the best thing since sliced bread, and who now have the guts to admit they were wrong. Comparisons drawn between the American Research Group, an economist think tank, and various CNN news polls show that the president's approval rating has dropped from 71 percent at the start of the Iraq war to just 19 percent this past February.

If you, like me, couldn't stand the guy from the get go - if you couldn't tolerate anything he and his family stood for - then you get no credit for disliking Bush and opposing his war. Let's face it; we didn't undertake any soul searching when concluding that Bush and his buds were failures. No, we've disliked this gang for generations; all the way back to when George W's grandfather was making oil deals with Nazi Germany.

But being able to say "I told you so" isn't much of an accomplishment. We knew the war, corporate tax cuts and domestic policy were ruinous, and guess what? We didn't stop them.

No, I feel for the unfortunate people who were overcome by terror and a desperate desire to believe that their leaders would always put this country first and bought that the truth mattered in the general scheme of things. They naively believed that our government honored them too much to lie to them.

And 52 percent have changed their minds; People that once honestly feared that yellow cake uranium enrichment was going on in Niger and that there were weapons of mass destruction scattered all over Iraq. And when these folks learned what had really happened, they demonstrated the character and humility to admit having been duped. Unwitting accomplices, these folks now live in a country on the brink of economic disaster that's daily hemorrhaging American lives, and they have wisely turned a jaundiced eye on their leaders.

Unfortunately, that's not doing this majority more good than it did us as the minority.

We still get headlines from yesterday's Associated Press like, "Congress has big questions for big oil." Yeah, questions like, "please sirs, may I have another?"

The story goes on to say that Congress is going to call the oil executives "on the carpet." What a joke. They are going to question these unpatriotic multinational corporate thieves about the $123 billion they made in windfall profits last year and then speculate if $18 billion in tax breaks is too much on top of that.

How about this? Repeal the tax breaks. End of discussion.

Seventy-one percent of America says the government's policies have failed, but now it goes further than public opinion - now even the government is sick of the government.

A story in the Washington Post yesterday talked about the Government Accountability Office trying to get to the bottom of the $295 billion in military-equipment cost overruns. Will that get Congress moving? The investigators found that "none of the systems that the GAO looked at had met all of the standards for best management practices during their development stages."

None? As in not one? When not one of the systems has met the standards for best management practices, you have proof that there is no such thing as government accountability.

Twenty-nine percent of us have never approved of this president or his administration. Fifty-two percent of us have learned to distrust him and no longer believe that he and his cronies have a clue about how to run this country or how to be capable players on the world stage. A scant 19 percent still approve of the job the administration are doing.

Americans must take charge. We must turn to the most honest moment the Bush administration has had in their agonizingly long tenure: Vice President Dick Cheney's exclusive interview with ABC's Good Morning America.

Dick Cheney's unabashed "So?" when confronted by the majority's dissenting public opinion should teach us that we don't matter to our government. And if you can stand that reality, then this country doesn't matter enough to you.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche

Pat LaMarche is an author, activist and advocate. She is the author of "Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States."  Her new novel, The Magic Diary, is due out in late spring.

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