1.19.2009

I Don't Like Mondays

While I am not one to wax philosophical on politics, I have had this nagging feeling that I should step into Mark's territory for a change and share a thought or two.
This past election season found me annoyed, frustrated and tired of all things politics. I am not a fan of the U.S. system and the format for picking a candidate. While it might not make any sense to say this, politics have become too political for my tastes. That's not to say I don't have any opinions, because I do; they may not be the same as Mark's, or many others, or they may not always be decided based on 100% of the facts. I try to stay informed, and when I am asked an opinion on a topic that I don't feel fully knowledgeable on, I am more than happy to admit it. I'll still give you my opinion, but I'll let you know that it's based on limited information or on pure emotion. Mark and I have had many a political discussion, and sometimes we do agree...or at least somewhat agree, but there are many topics that we stand on opposite sides of the fence.
Being a Canadian, and only a permanent resident of the U.S., I do not vote in elections here (I wish that could excuse political ads from my TV set!!). That being said, I do not belong to any specific political party....I tend to find myself in the middle of the road. There are issues from both sides that have my support. I suppose if I were to find myself a voting person I would be a little torn on which path to follow. Thankfully I don't have that problem!
Having that said, here's my opinion for today. Given that a new President is being sworn in, I felt I should say something that's been on my mind for some months now, about the outgoing President. And shock of shocks, it has nothing to do with Iraq, terrorism or Bin Laden. I think enough has been said about that and there will never be an explanation that will please everyone.
Moving on. While I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time in the Doctor's office, so I made use of the magazines in the rooms. I came across an article in Time magazine. It was about Bush, and it was written by Bob Geldof (click on his name if you don't know anything about him). It's no surprise that Geldof is not an overly supportive fan of Bush, in fact I would guess 90% of what Bush stands for, Geldof doesn't, and vice versa. So I was quite surprised when I read his article. He was actually writing in support of Bush! I was intrigued, so I read on.
His article spotlighted Bush's work in Africa. I had no idea Bush had done work in Africa! But he had, and he had done some amazing work there!!
"It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration."
Geldof continues to discuss the work that has been done in Africa while Bush has been in office, and it is quite impressive. It just seems strange that in times when everything the public hears about is economic turmoil, job loss, war casualties and other atrocities, it would be pleasant to hear a news piece or two about some of the good that goes on in the world.
The article's next paragraph sums up the entire point to my long winded blog:
"So why doesn't America know about this? "I tried to tell them. But the press weren't much interested," says Bush. It's half true. There are always a couple of lines in the State of the Union, but not enough so that anyone noticed, and the press really isn't interested. For them, like America itself, Africa is a continent of which little is known save the odd horror"
The article is very enlightening, at least to me it was. I learned a lot about the work President Bush has done while in office, much of which is never reported to the public, unless you go looking for it, yourself.
So why is it that the media only reports on the negative, or the argument inducing issues? If you don't agree with the man and his actions, that's fine, but if good deeds have been done, why is the media and the public so slow to recognize them? I am sure during Obama's term(s) there will be good decisions made and poor decisions. No one leader can make the public happy 100% of the time, it's not possible.
What I like most about this article is Geldof's honesty. He doesn't tip toe around the fact that they are at odds with each other on the issue of Iraq, but Geldof is professional and human all at the same time:
"I don't want to go there. I have my views and they're at odds with his, and I don't want to spoil the interview or be rude in the face of his hospitality. "Ah, look Mr. President. I don't want to do this really. We'll get distracted and I'm here to do Africa with you...This is the person who has quadrupled aid to the poorest people on the planet. I was more comfortable with that. But his expression asked for agreement and sympathy, and I couldn't provide either. "Mr. President, please. There are things you've done I could never possibly agree with and there are things I've done in my life that you would disapprove of, too. And that would make your hospitality awkward. The cost has been too much. History will play itself out."
With the media's unabashed love-fest going on right now for all things Obama (he wears boxers!! Read all about it on the 10:00 news! He had ranch dressing on his salad - breaking news! What on earth would happen if a media pundit came out with a semi-negative remark about Obama and his politics??), I just wanted to give some credit where credit is due on this last day of Bush's term. You may not agree with all of his decisions, but we can all agree that there has been some good that has come out of his two terms as President.
Here is the article from Time, I would urge you all to read it.

2 comments:

Erin said...

Thank you for sharing that. I'm interested to see what happens in the next four years.

Jared Smith said...

Excellent post. Well said. I'm with you - very torn about the last 8 years. Much good and a lot of bad.

While truly I hope that Obama re-instills some hope and optimism in our country, I fear that he is being set up for the Great Failure of our time. With the media and most of the populace swooning at his every word, I can't see how one man could ever meet their expectations.