Bush Legacy

January 11, 2008
By Melanie Beatus, Roslyn Heights, NY

To the Editor:
An Appeal to All Presidential Candidates

My name is Melanie, I am seventeen years old, and will graduate in June. For the past three years, I have attempted to call myself politically involved while I researched the parallels between the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War and the War on Terror. I will be voting in the 2008 presidential election. My political education is a work in progress and will become more fully developed by the time I vote in November. Hopefully, my voice can make even an infinitesimal difference in our government.
I am writing to address the legacy the Bush administration will leave my generation, which is now faced with myriad problems on both the domestic and foreign fronts. As The Who once sang, “Things, they do look awful cold; I hope I die before I get old.” This is a line I hope I won’t be singing when I vote in November.
My generation is concerned with a grave international issue. We are unsure why troops are dying in Iraq. We have sacrificed almost 4,000 American lives, not to mention the civilian death toll in the Middle East. Life is more important than democracy. As American citizens, we have the sacred right to cast a ballot under a democracy. My next concern is whether that right is truly sacred. Maybe it is simply highly valued, for we must recognize the separation of church and state as James Madison declared in his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments. However, this idea of the separation of church and state is only an American ideal; the reality is that god is wholly incorporated into the secular realm of the United States.
Why are we so certain that democracy will be beneficial to the people in Iraq? American philosophy seems to state that democracy is the only true form of government. The concept of Manifest Destiny, which indicates that America possesses the god-given right to spread its system of government, is essentially the evolvement of what we’ve always done. We have killed incalculable numbers of people in the name of imperialism, White Man’s Burden, and Manifest Destiny. This nineteenth century idea has led America to become the bully on the playground, the playground otherwise known as the world. Why is it our responsibility to force democracy on other nations? Maybe the Iraqis don’t even want democracy; maybe democracy isn’t the solution to the severe issue of terrorism. America needs to discard its belief that democracy is the only way to run government for all other nations in this twenty-first century. The world has changed.
The United States government spends nearly $15 billion a month on a war that Americans do not support. This number seems so intangible. However, my generation will be paying for this war for years after the Bush administration is long gone. America is currently mortgaging my generation and our children’s. What exactly is this money funding besides the slaughter of thousands? Instead of raising our standard of living, we are dragged into a deeper hole. I cannot fathom how any president or political figure will pull the nation out of this abyss.
We are in need of answers, answers that will help us to figure out what my generation can do to better our country.
What will you and your individual party do to resolve these issues?



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