State of the Union

The State of the Union

I hear lots of rumbling about how we, the people, should impeach President Bush. Now that he’s admitted to initiating this wiretap scheme, claiming that Congress granted him a right which it explicitly denied him and that he’s simply fulfilling a duty of his office, the Internet is filled with virtual pitchforks and burning torches. Voices clamoring for his head.

But over the past year, Mr. Bush has accomplished what none of his detractors suspected him capable of achieving. If we believe the national polls, which carry more political clout than either truth or virtue, the country was polarized a year ago. Half believed he was at least the best of two evils, while the other half was much less generous. Today, only about 30% of the people stand on his side of most issues. I think this shows a remarkable performance. From a tottering, divided country to one standing much more united in a single year. He’s clearly a Uniter, just like he said!

How has he achieved this result? He got out of touch. Looking back over the past year, I see a string of presidential proposals, not one of which found traction with the American public. Heck, even the Congress, which was lock-step behind him through the prior three years, has moved out ahead of him on several issues. They now continually question his judgment.

Hooray! It’s too easy to blame the leader. True, our constitution provides for the removal of any misbehaving President, but it provides no such remedy for removing a population guilty of failing to fulfill its own responsibilities for challenging its leaders.

If we merely follow the leader, we won’t find any balance of power. We’ve given our President a lot of power, but not at the expense of our authority to question him. When our system gets out of balance, it has the capability of righting itself. Only with our help. We seem to be waking up to that responsibility.

Impeachment would just get us polarized again. I wouldn’t choose that over the progress we have achieved over the last year. Being President is a tough job. So is being a citizen. We have no obligation to make the president’s job any easier than ours is.

And his leadership has empowered us all.

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