We stand on the brink of a new era. America is kissed by the dawn of a bright new sun. We may finally move on from the tragedy and heartbreak of division and war; we stand prepared to take back our civil rights to free speech, privacy, rationality, and freedom from fear. We may finally, as a nation, take responsibility for our actions, and begin to make amends.

Which brings us to the crimes of President George W. Bush.

President Bush suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus. This deprives all American citizens of their fundamental rights to petition the government for justice; to their right to speedy trial, with representation, before a jury of their peers; to live without fear of their government; and to hold their government accountable for its actions. This action on its own deprives every American citizen of virtually every right for which our forefathers gave their very lives, and for which our men and women in the military continue to fight, and die, every single day.

President George W. Bush instilled a sense of terror into the people of America, infecting the hearts and minds of this great people, associating the religion of Islam with fascism, liberals with weakness, and independent rational thought with death.

President George W. Bush implicitly, if not explicitly, approved of and defended war crimes of the most grevious nature. He sullied the very meaning of the word ‘democracy’ by implying that torture, terror, and dishonesty are acceptable under the guise of bringing democracy to the countries of the world.

No rational being can deny the existence, breadth, and horror of this man’s crimes. America must recognize this as it develops its new culture of change and renewal. To ignore President Bush’s crimes against United States law and against humanity itself would be a fundamentally immoral act.

However, we must also recognize that the fault does not lie with this one man, alone. It is vital we do not make that all-too-tempting mistake of declaring President George W. Bush our scapegoat and consider our own consciences clear. It is vital we collectively acknowledge our culpability in the horrors of the last eight years.

We elected him, or allowed him to be elected. Even if he secured power by unethical means, we stood by as he wielded America’s name in a manner, and for causes, profoundly unamerican, in ways that would make our founding fathers weep, if only they knew. For our forefathers established this nation as revolutionaries, rejecting a king who wielded absolute authority. We allowed a tyrant to lead a nation founded as a fundamental rejection of tyranny. It is not comfortable to admit, but this was your fault. And it was mine.

And so I call for America to hold George W. Bush, our nation’s forty-third president, accuontable for the last eight years.

And I call for President-Elect Barack Obama, who is destined to be our nation’s forty-fourth president, to pardon George W. Bush for his crimes against humanity and the United States of America. I call on our nation’s next President to take this opportunity– not because President Bush is not guilty of bringing more darkness and more evil into the world than we have seen since the rule of a few notable dictators– but because the rest of America is guilty, too, and to pretend we are not, simply by condemning the very tyrant in whose transgressions we are ALL complicit, is an irrational and dangerous path to tread.

The Presidency is not just a job; it is a symbol. It is a sullied symbol now; surely, at no point in history has the Oval Office been associated with such shame and nationwide guilt. But exorcising the evils that now pervade the White House will be a more complicated process than merely casting blame and washing our hands. Furthermore, the acceptance of a Presidential pardon is an implicit admission of guilt. If George W. Bush accepts a Presidential pardon, that’s good enough for me– all I require from him, and indeed from every American, is an admission of wrongdoing and the courage and determination to pursue positive change. Furthermore, enough Americans, wrong though they may be, believe that President Bush is not guilty of these crimes– and I think it’s more important to acknowledge his crimes and move on, than to spend millions of dollars on a process that may even clear him of the heinous things he has done. We need to unify as Americans. A Presidential pardon is an opportunity to do so without denying all wrongdoing.

President-Elect Obama, millions of Americans– and billions worldwide– look to your imminent Presidency as an opportunity to restore America to its former glory. You take the helm at a time when America is embroiled deep in dark and boiling waters. We look to you, Mister President-Elect, to lead us in taking responsibility for the evils inflicted on the world in our name. America has one chance to admit guilt, accept responsibility, and engender real and lasting change. 

My hopes, my dreams, and my faith in this country go with you. The ball is in your court, President-Elect Obama.


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4 Responses to “Dawn”

  1. aricollins Says:

    I understand and kind of agree with your philosophy here. HOWEVER.

    These people committed crimes against our great country. Not just “the crime of being a sucky president” in a hyperbolic “crime” sense, but actual goddamn crimes. If the government is allowed to get away with breaking its own laws, then its no government of mine. And to pardon them would be, I think, to say that those in government are free to continue to wage war upon the American people.

    I say jail the bitches. From the President on down, anyone who was responsible for election rigging, torture, the politicization of the DOJ, and etceterata.

  2. gryfft Says:

    ‘Eye for an eye’ versus ‘Turn the other cheek’–

    Crimes were committed, and we are all culpable. Americans are not the victims of the greatest atrocities that were committed. We got, relatively speaking, a slap on the cheek.

    I say we turn that cheek, not away from the terrible things that have been done, but to the wreckage of the world around us. The time for vengeance and division is over. It’s time to rebuild.

  3. deathbychiasmus Says:

    I can’t say I’m as super-jazzed about the Obama victory as you guys are, but one thing I’m glad for is less leadership through fear, and more leadership through prudence and thought.

  4. Sebatinsky Says:

    I am certainly happier with the Obama victory than I might have been with McCain, but I was actually less invested in this presidential election than the last; both candidates are, by my estimation, substantial improvements over the current administration.

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