Dear Mr. President Bush,
Well, thank God it's finally over, huh? I don't know who's more relieved, you or the rest of the country. I wanted to send you a brief note to wish you well and get a couple of things off my chest. But I won't say too much, because I don't want to get agitated and my mom doesn't like it when political discussions get heated.
Keep in mind that I write as someone who once supported you. I voted for you in 2000, and I even supported the war in Iraq. I wasn't totally on board with it at the time, but I trusted you and (perhaps more importantly) your office. By 2004 this trust was long gone, mind you, but there was a time it existed.
Like you I have a few "disappointments" with your administration. In addition, I have a few "things that make me angry" and "things that are so frustrating, so willfully misguided and cynical, that I don't know whether to cry bitter, bitter tears or just grit my teeth until my jaws ache."
My overall complaint about how everything happened, and this is an idea that to me encompasses the planning and execution of the war, the torture of prisoners, the signing statements, the aftermath of Katrina, the irresponsible tax cuts, the economic meltdown, the vilification of your political opponents, and the accumulation of unlawful power in the executive branch, is a sense of fundamental dishonesty. You never told us the truth about any of it. You were always trying to gloss over problems, to tell us that missions were accomplished and that we should go back to our shopping while the earth burned. As president you worked to appease your base (rich people, and maybe later on evangelicals) but you told us you were working for everyone. The reason that no one has paid attention to you in the last two years is that no one believes you. We don't trust you. You never gave us a reason to trust you.
You could have asked us to sacrifice after September 11th, and boy, we would have. We wanted to. Remember that telethon with all the celebrities, when the country spent a night weeping in front of the tv and opening our wallets, because it was the only thing we thought we could do? That should have been the tip of the iceberg. We were ready to change our lives, to strive for something bigger, and all we wanted was direction. We just needed you to say the word. But you said nothing.
So that's my beef with you. Also, one other small thing: you and your friends have spent the last month crowing about how you've kept us safe all this time. My question (and maybe this is more of a quibble) is, are you including September 11th in that statement, or what? Because you were president then, and you were receiving briefings with names like, "Oh Shit, Osama's Going to the Airport." Now, I am not blaming you for September 11th -- I am most definitely not -- but I am saying that I don't know if it's right to be bragging about how safe we are thanks to you, when September 11th remains such an open wound. I think about terrorism every time I go to work, riding the elevator to the 24th floor of my landmark building. Every night when I leave I thank God I made it out yet again. You may be leaving office, but the threat has not diminished.
That's all I should say, I guess. Despite everything I have moments of sympathy for you, and you seem like a nice person, until you start teasing reporters in jerky ways. Also, I have an abiding affection for Laura Bush, because she reminds me of a frumpier, more docile version of my mom. And, your daughters aren't bad looking. Now you get to go back to Texas and the country gets to begin a long process of repair. Thank God we've bottomed out.