Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hail to the Chief, America's Transfer of Power

As we approach another peaceful transition in power in the United States, I think it’s worth looking back and thanking President Bush for the job that he has done.

While it is true we currently are in a financial and economic mess, it was a storm neither of his making, nor one that can be solved quickly. Like the Great Depression, it will likely take years to emerge from the economic distress we are currently in as the business cycle and the economy heals itself. Hopefully with that healing, the American people realize that a “negative savings rate” isn’t a good thing, and at least become less of the instant-gratification type so many currently are.

I think the most telling part of the Bush Legacy is security. As much as far left extremists scream that we were less safe with President Bush, the facts say otherwise. After September 11th, the average American expected another attack. Every Intelligence Agency and Law Enforcement Organization expected another attack. Every politician expected another attack. We are still waiting, thank God. That is no small thing and is, in itself, a significant legacy.

In a world where our blissful “holiday from history” was shattered, Bush steered a course that prevented terrorists from perpetrating any more attacks against the American people on American soil. That alone is a sterling example of the job he has done guiding the ship of state for the last seven years following 9/11. God Willing (Insha Allah as the locals say), President Obama will continue guiding our country through the turbulent seas of Islamic terrorism and maintain America as safe and secure.

Despite the deranged predictions of the some on the left, President Bush is leaving office. He is leaving with the same grace and class that he entered, even if that level of respect (or even a modicum of respect for the office) was unfortunately never afforded him while he was in office. A member of the other political party won an election, despite some accusations that Bush was going to become a dictator or destroy our freedoms or destroy free elections. None of that came to pass.

However, I am really annoyed seeing AFN ads for CNN, BET, and other channels touting special Obama programming, “A New Birth of Freedom”. Apparently, unbeknown to many of us, freedom took an eight year holiday - no one was able to notice because nothing really changed. It’s this hyperbole that does the American system a grave disservice and is emblematic of wider societal problems.

President Obama is an inspiring symbol because he represents all that is good about America. He has lived the American dream and is another symbol that we have overcome our racist past. But Freedom is not being born again in America - it never died.

Hopefully decades from now, looking back, these people will realize that they may have overreacted. A president’s legacy is not written by the same generation nor is it written in the first decade after he leaves office. President Truman, probably one of our strongest Presidents, was considered a complete and total failure when he left office on January 20th, 1953. That judgment against him does not stand today.

So on January 20th, we say farewell to one President. A man who has kept this country safe and secure when it emerged from the holiday of the 90s, into a cruel multi-polar world where non-state actors have the ability to bring mass death anywhere and anytime. We say welcome and salute a new President who is faced with similar challenges and represents all that is good about America.

Things will change, but America endures. As Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for everything else”. Our democratic republic has survived a Civil War, economic depressions, global wars, a Cold War. It will survive Islamic Terrorism and another Economic Depression.

God Speed President Bush.

President Obama, Good Luck - we are praying for your success.

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