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No Black and White Paradise

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This is written to Sarah Eberhardt who asked last month, What Happened? She was even so generous not only to supply a question, but answers as well! But I am going to tell her something that might...well...shock her.
Sarah Eberhardt, you do not know nor have all the answers.
You cannot blame America solely for what has occurred these past eight years. It takes two and nothing is black and white. What we consider wrong is considered right by a country across the Atlantic and what they consider wrong is right to us.
1999 was an amazing year. Filled with hope and anticipation for a good, wholesome future. What would be better than a president who didn't cheat on his wife, reduce the military when we needed it most and lie to our faces?
I was amazed at how effortlessly you conjured up these answers. I was really stricken, across the face yes, but with surprise at how much you think you know. That one radio station couldn't have possibly gone around asking every voter in the U.S. their choice for candidacy. I would consider it a real miracle if they had, a new Santa Clause tale perhaps. But the point is that you don't know whether or not George Bush cheated. You don't know whether or not Al Gore was just being a sore loser for having the vote counters recount the votes twice more.
President Bush did not cause the befuddlement of the world. He chose to lead us through it. Bill Clinton left America with decreased military powers, a scandal that left us tainted and knowing that the war in the middle east we slowly coming our way.
George Bush was a refreshing start, maybe the beginning of a happy era in our history. But of course not all things can end happily. Seven months two weeks and four days later, President Bush sat in a classroom full of second graders listening to them read out loud. His hands folded in his lap, legs are crossed, he sits back, slight smile on his face and just listens. A whisper in his ear leaves him silent, comprehending. In an interview President Bush said, "I was concentrating on the program at this point, thinking about what I was going to say. I felt it was an accident. I was concerned about it, but there was no alarm."
It was only a few minutes later that he was told a second plane had crashed into the other building. Now you can see the wheels spinning through his head. 'America is under attack.' The weight of the free world sits on his shoulders and, in the midst of a dozen children who read on about a goat, realization comes crashing down. He is the President of the United States. He chose this occupation, the people chose him, and now he must help us. To panic would send the whole country into hysteria. So he sits and thinks about what he can do.
It's been eight years and he has done what he promised us. He's done his best. He appears old and worn on TV. Eight years and a war driven country that he has loved so much has turned against him. The government to which he swore his oath is bending him as the House fills with Democrats. But he does not break.
So Sarah, do not assume all the answers. I try not to. I think about each side of the playing board, or as you said, how each hand in the card game is played. No America is no longer the classic 1940's view of apple pie and vintage. We are not a paradise to everyone. There is no such thing. Paradise is what you make it, what you want it to be. Before 9/11 we knew nothing of defeat. We have not been defeated, only humbled, but we rise everyday. It is the small things that make America great. We read, write, go to school, adventure, think and imagine. We stand and speak. To me, that right there is paradise.





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