I'm going back to something President Bush said on April 20, because he said something fairly similar today. He said, "My job is a job to make decisions. I’m a decision — if the job description were, what do you do — it’s decision-maker. And I make a lot of big ones, and I make a lot of little ones." Doesn't quite have the same ring as the apocryphal Louix XIV quote, "L'etat, c'est moi!" However, I'm sure it's the best he was able to manage on his own, in spite of his legion of speech writers. So, instead, I take an old Lloyd Bentsen quote and turn it into something quite absurd when I say, "I knew Louis XIV in a past life, and you are no Sun King." While the first half of the sentence is a load of crap, since I find the concept of reincarnation completely absurd, the second half stands. Mr. Bush, you are not the United States of America. You are not our people. You are not some benevolent absolute monarch to whose whim we are all subject. You are not what makes the United States great, what makes living here a dream and a beacon of hope to oppressed people everywhere. You, sir, are the least of us, a representative of our weakness, of our child-like folly, and for those of us who helped elect you twice, the source of a shame so deep we cannot begin to utter or comprehend its depths. It is in your, ahem, "honor", that I quote the first three stanzas of T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men".
"We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
"Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
"Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men."
Mr. President, I ask you to read those words, really ponder them, look at the totality of your life, not only as President, not only as a Governor, not only as an executive with the Texas Rangers baseball team; but rather, as your worth as a man. I look at you, Mr. President, and I see a man who was given so much, and who had all of the advantages to achieve greatness, yet you chose to be banal. You chose to mistake pettiness and stubbornness for the virtues of decisiveness and sound judgment, and people in the United States and abroad have suffered as a result. I hope, as I have since you took office more than 6 years ago, that you find wisdom and honor, and have the courage to act on those keystones of just government. I hope, as I have since you took office more than 6 years ago, that, instead of focusing on building your legacy, you instead allow your legacy to build itself on a foundation of virtue and courage. However, I have long since realized those hopes are in vain, so now I also hope that you at least don't screw things up any more in the waning days of your presidency, and that your successor is somehow able to fix your colossal mess. I also hope you have a pleasant and restful retirement, and that you have the good sense to stay away from the cameras much like your father has. And for the United States and the other peoples around the world, I hope for peace and an end to needless suffering.