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The 'hundred days' of reform demur

By James Hall
web posted April 26, 2001

Almost a half century ago a time of relative tranquillity was characterized with long afternoons on the golf course. The kindly looking father figure possessed enormous support from his nation. Prosperity was expanding, families enjoyed each other and the era was known as a 'Golden Age'. He was called Ike and America knew her own identity. An atmosphere of innocence and self esteem was proudly worn, and people did not fear to express their pride in the country. Government was relatively small, and roads for commerce attracted their attention. It seems to be a description from another planet, not just several decades ago. Then why does George W. Bush, convey a sense of deja vu?

President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush walk between a Texas A and M University honor guard on way to attend the dedication of the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum while in Austin on April 27.
President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush walk between a Texas A and M University honor guard on way to attend the dedication of the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum while in Austin on April 27.

The first watermark has passed and most are surprised that the 'adults' have made a difference. Approvals are up and a deep sense of relief refreshes the consciousness. Policy shaping and applying has replaced edicts by polls. Attitudes express an approach with balance. Divisiveness has been tempered, with moaning reduced mostly from the loyal opposition of the aisle. Tax relief is on the way and the spring has just arrived. How can anyone not feel good about this start?

If it all would just be that simple, we could delight in this change. But at the core of the shift in parties, there was a continuation within the power structure behind the photo sessions. Style has changed greatly, but the same levers of government go on with their daily functions. The judgment if this is desirable or not, will depend more on the views of the inquirer, than the facts that describe the contrasts. Those who are recipients of the beneficial rewards of this system, seek to have them continue and grow. While those who are the unwilling supporters of the privilege, pursue to create meaningful reform. Where you fall into this mix, most likely depends on the degree you are willing to accept bribes or the intensity that you resist them. If you are willing to accept the theft from others, you are relieved that the status quo is protected. But if you have chronic nausea from the continued direction that both parties provide, Dubya will not furnish the solution.

Critics who tar Bush as a corporate tool, ignore that the limousine liberals are best of friends with the public companies. The same redistribute other people's money advocates, visit the same tax accountants as do the country club set. And the most ardent proponents of the monopoly corporate/state, are those who run their favored enterprises from atop their office suites. Yes these masters of the universe wear no single party label. Bush is just the next in line, it's his turn.

When they say that none of the allies have come to our support during the Chinese incident, they forget that none of these same allies want the US to dominate the Pacific to begin with. It was fine when Clinton was transferring technology, but George only wants to maintain trade. When will we learn that America has only interests, and not friends? But those interests have not been served by either party. And the new president, will only follow down that same old road that is now being berated, openly in the press.

The game is intact. Only the faces have changed, while the substance for a reversal in direction is just as far away as ever. The pace may slow, but the monster will still be fed. Government growth increases above inflation even more than before.

So who should be disappointed with the days of the first five score? The conservatives will get their rhetoric that they want to hear, the teachers will get their money to disconcert another generation and the price of energy will rise as the air warms from the rates that the public will pay. Everyone has won, while all of us have lost...

The relief that we welcome from the torment that has just passed, is real and should be cherished. Bush is a man of character, by most current standards. His willingness to be humble is not often seen. Our hope is that when the real crunch comes, that his inner voice will steer him right. But we must not forget that belonging to those Skull and Bones, doesn't allow for much slack. The culture of those who rule is not based upon their genes. It derives from a willingness to protect and serve the interests of the system that controls the public. Privileged birth helps to get to the top, but eagerness to advance that hold on those who struggle beneath, is the true test which must be passed to be given the reins of power. Your acceptance of this account will most likely depend upon how you view your own place. And it is because so few have habitual concern for that which is justice, that little ever changes. At least for now, I will welcome the rest; while I gather the strength to face the next assault that will surely come soon. But for now George, it would be much worse if you were not here.

This is James Hall's first contribution to Enter Stage Right. He is the web master of Breaking all the rules, a collection of his essays.

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