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Condemned to Repeat It

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Disgraced President Herbert Hoover remains infamous across the worn, torn, doodled, and frayed pages of high school history textbooks for his profound manner of handling the Great Depression¬—profoundly futile, that is. Rarely has anyone showed that same disregard of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while ignoring a major crisis. And, in fact, only the newest editions of those history textbook can give another example. It took 72 years, but finally we got another President just as lousy, if not more so, than Hoover: George W. Bush.

Hoover believed that the burden of ending the Depression fell on private charities, that volunteerism could feed a starving nation. He assumed that after the capitalistic orgy that was the Roaring Twenty’s (Great Gatsby, anybody?), those who were used to lavish parties and butlers and mansions and yachts would be generous enough to give their remaining thousand dollars to the populace. Nice try.

I believe that volunteerism is a lovely idea, a novel concept that captures the true Christian spirit of generosity. But, like so many novel Christian ideas, this one falls flat(*cough: just war cough*). While I may be a firm believer in Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth, we are talking about a capitalistic society, where giving will always remain inferior to getting. Hoover didn’t institute any new laws; he didn’t increase the taxes on the rich for the purpose of providing public services for the poor; he just proclaimed “GIVE!” and assumed the rest of the nation to do his bidding. Sweet guy, huh?

Likewise, Bush didn’t want the government to control and regulate the economy. He refused to regulate the housing market, despite warnings from the Federal Reserve Chairman that a recession was on its way. He instituted the “No Child Left Behind” Act in a frantic attempt to do something about the ever-increasing stupidity blossoming across the country, but without proper funding, the program flopped. And, much like Hoover passively ignoring the Great Depression, President Bush refused to deal with the issue of global warming. He reportedly stated that he believes it is real-which, as anyone can imagine, is like camping out in the eye of a storm, saying, “Oh, I believe you’re real! All right! Buh-bye now!” That may have worked with the Easter Bunny, but with carbon emissions? Not so much. President Bush attempted to pacify the problem with the Clean Air Act, but took a strong stance against Kyocto Protocol, which was determined to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. President Bush also lifted a ban on off-shore drilling, despite his promise to look for alternative means of fuel. The fact that the B.P. Oil Spill didn’t happen in Bush’s day is just plain luck—for it wouldn’t have occurred if Bush had kept his promise, instead of fueling America’s need for oil, and not much else.

But that’s not all. President Bush continued a horrific opposition to gay marriage throughout his presidency. He disregarded homosexuals’ rights to the pursuit of happiness, insisting the marriage was sacred between a man and his woman (despite the rapidly climbing 50% divorce rate, he seemed to think traditional marriages actually worked). Likewise, President Hoover silenced the protesting Bonus Army, a peaceful band of veterans just trying to get their promised bonuses. He even sent the army to stop the march! No wonder his popularity plummeted.

There is a clear connection blossoming within those doodled pages. Beneath torn edges lie the key to why our nation is currently struggling. America obviously wasn’t being very careful when she headed to those 2001 polls—for those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it!





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