The Wretched Excess of the Bush Inauguration

According to Jim Thompson, editorial page editor of the Athens Banner-Herald, there will be plenty of pomp and pageantry associated with the Bush inauguration, "a $40 million exercise in wretched excess that seems oddly inappropriate at a time when American soldiers continue to die in a war the Bush administration clearly expected would be over by now."
The $40 million will come from private donors and ticket sales. More than a dozen corporations or individuals have forked over $250,000 to help fund the inaugural events, including Exxon Mobil, Occidental Petroleum, Chevron Texaco, former Enron president Richard Kinder, and the Georgia-based Southern Co. Nearly a dozen others have contributed $100,000.
Thompson makes a great suggestion: "If Bush really wants his inaugural to focus on this country's soldiers, maybe he ought to go where they are. Maybe he ought to load his family into an unarmored Humvee for the 10-mile trip from Baghdad International Airport to the city. Maybe he ought to take the oath of office in a field hospital, surrounded by the blood and death that are the stark reality of the war."
And he concludes: "Mr. President, just as strapping into a flight suit doesn't necessarily make you a fighter pilot, an inauguration - no matter how many flags wave or how many marching bands play - doesn't necessarily make you a leader."


Blogger Boston Dreamer said...

Interesting that the original humanitarian aid to Indonesia was less than the cost of the Ball.
Andrew Jackson must be furious.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Gatorchick said...

Yes. Maybe this was a situation where he actually got busted on something and shamed into better behavior!

9:57 AM  
Blogger peace dreamer said...

What puzzles me is the different ways we perceive the needs of victims. There were, at last count, over 155,000 killed by the tsunami. The international community's rush to aid the victims has been wonderful. According to a Johns Hopkins report, there have been over 100,000 killed in Iraq since the U.S. invasion, the vast majority of these innocent victims. The international community's response has been deathly silent. Why are the needs of victims from one disaster considered so much greater than the needs of victims from another? Where is the morality in this? Where are our moral leaders?

6:42 AM  
Blogger Boston Dreamer said...

Interesting point, Peace, but I believe that the issue is between man-made controversial disasters and natural uncontroversial, undebatable disasters. The world cannot agree that Iraq IS a disaster. This tsunami is obvious and undeniable. Unfortunate, but true.
Rwanda and Sudan face the same thing, i think.

12:42 PM  
Blogger peace dreamer said...

While I agree with you, Boston, I can't help but think about how American's were aghast at the celebrations of Islamic radicals after 9-11. Many Americans were shocked that anyone could rejoice over the violent death of innocent people. But those who celebrated did not agree that 9-11 was a disaster. Our silence over the death of innocent people in Iraq (and other parts of the world) is no better than the celebrations we witnessed and have the same result--increased international alienation and anomosity. And it's so easy for me to make this judgement as I sit safely at my computer, no gunfire or bombs exploding in the distance. I wonder what it's like to be 9 years old and look out of a blown out window in a house in Fallujah, or Mosul, or Baghdad? I suppose how we view disasters depends very much on perspective and context.

2:53 PM  

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