Many words, none of them complimentary, describe the failed presidency of George W. Bush: Incompetent, immoral, illegal, deceptive, duplicitous, dumb, stupid, or corrupt. The list is endless.
But the word that best describes Bush and his five years in office is betrayal, because above all he and the party he represents have betrayed just about everyone in sight.
Bush and the Republicans have betrayed the American people who may or may not have voted him into office in 2000 and who may or may not have returned him there in 2004. They have betrayed the principles of a political party that – at one time – stood for leaner government, controls on spending and the right of states to make decisions on the issues that most directly affect their citizens.
Bush and his minions betrayed our allies, lying to them about the manufactured “justifications” for invading Iraq. They lied to Congress and the American people and continue to spread those lies today even though their claims were discredited long ago.
The Bush administration betrayed the Constitution of the United States, creating a police state mentality that openly violates the rights that hallowed document are supposed to protect, trampling our freedoms with an over hyped “war on terrorism” that – to date – has only created more enemies of this country.
Bush’s betrayal knows no limits, confines itself to no bounds. He brands those who disagree with him “traitors” and accuses critics of “aiding the enemy” when their only crime is practicing free speech by disagreeing with his dictatorial policies.
In five years, Bush has managed strip away the foundations that built this nation – creating an American Gestapo called the Department of Homeland Security, trampling the Constitution with the USA Patriot Act and dividing the nation with fear tactics, lies and illegal acts.
His administration has built the greatest propaganda machine since Adolph Hitler, seeking to control what Americans read, see and hear – producing fake news reports through federal agencies, paying so-called journalists to produce pro-Bush stories, threatening broadcast entities with record fines and packing Public Radio with right-wing zealots.
His propaganda machine rolled over the press, public and Congress with Blitzkrieg efficiency in the buildup to the Iraq invasion, bombarding them with lies, innuendos and false intelligence.
Now, with the truth emerging, he attacks the truth with claims that those who question him are unpatriotic and un-American. His White House compiles electronic dossiers on more than 10,000 “enemies of the state,” because they have the audacity to oppose his autocratic ravings. His political advisors pray for a new terrorist attack to justify the paranoia his actions create.
In the end, however, it is Bush who is un-American and unpatriotic. The coward who sat out the Vietnam war by hiding in the Air National Guard – the same Air National Guard he now sends to war in Iraq – is a traitor to his country. He sold out his oath of office and betrayed the Constitution of the United States by attempting – and too often succeeding – in undermining the very freedoms it protects.
Betrayal is, and always will be, the legacy of George W. Bush. That betrayal is now clear for all to see. What is not clear is whether or not this country will be great enough to overcome that betrayal and repair the grave damage he has inflicted on a once-great nation called the United States of America.