I was so discombobulated by the election results that I started
this column three different times.
Start #1: What election? I haven't heard nothin' about no
stinkin' election. And even if there had been an election, I wouldn't
have known anything about it because things like that don't interest me.
Start #2: The election outcome makes me think that Pap
FinnHuck's fathermay have been on to something in his anti-government
rant: "Call this a govment!
A man can't get his rights in a govment like
this. Sometimes I've a mighty notion to just leave the country for good
and all. Yes, and I told 'em so
Lots of 'em heard me and can tell what
I said. Says I, for two cents I'd leave the blamed country and never come
a-near it agin. Them's the very words
And then I read the NY Times post-election editorial scolding me
for not being "ready to accept whoever wins by the rules of the game as
the next chief-executive.
it is important for the entire country to
accept him as the rightful president."
It made me hang my head in shame when I re-read my first two
starts, which by contrast to the Times' exceedingly grownup words sounded
shamefully immature. Ever since I turned 70 this year I've been trying
hard to be a grownup. So I discarded those two beginnings and settled on this
Start #3: Congratulations to President Bush on the occasion of
his re-election last week. The only cloud on the horizon of his second
term is Constitutional Amendment XXII which says that "No person shall be
elected to the office of the President more than twice."
And that reminds me of something my father, twice elected mayor of
the booming metropolis of Plains, Kansas, once told me: "Don't believe
politicians until they're in their last term. They're less likely to lie
when they're not running for re-election."
That's when I had a little epiphany: the reason President Bush
has been less than candid about so many things is that he's spent much of
his first term running for his second term. But now that his second term is
secured, we can expect him to be much more forthcoming.
That expectation leads me to ask the following questions:
Mr. President, did you really believe that Saddam had nuclear
weapons? Did you really believe that the first warning he had them would
be a mushroom cloud? Remember, you're not running for re-election
It's been reported, Mr. President, that 80 percent of your
followers believe you're in favor of the international treaty banning
landmines, that 76 percent believe you favor U.S. participation in the
International Criminal Court, that 61 percent believe you'd like to have
the U.S. be a part of the Kyoto Treaty. Have those folks been misled?
If so, who's responsible for the misleading?
The Truth, Mainly
Did you really believe, Mr. President, that Iraq was responsible
for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon?
Did you really believe that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were allies
rather than antagonists? If so, why? If not, why do so many of your
supporters continue to make those connections?
Your former ghost writer, Mickey Herskowitz, was quoted in an
Oct. 28th article by Russ Baker as saying that even before you became
president you were talking about attacking Iraq. Can that be true?
Baker also quotes Herskowitz saying that your father was opposed
to your invasion of Iraq. Is that true? If it is, how did you respond?
When and how, Mr. President, is the Abu Ghraib atrocity going to
be resolved? Where does the buck stop?
Do you still see yourselfas you did four years agoas "a
uniter, not a divider"? If you do, when, Mr. President, do you intend to
tell the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that it's time to publically
apologize to Senator Kerry?
The generally accepted estimate is that maybe as many as 15,000
Iraqi civilians have died since we invaded. But Scott Ritter writes that
the Oct. 30 online issue of the Lancet medical journal estimates that more
than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the beginning of the
invasion. What are your numbers, Mr. President?
What's your view, Mr. President, of that portion of the First
Amendment that says "Congress shall make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"?
What's your view of theocracy, sir? What does the word
"theocracy" mean to you?
And again, Mr. President, congratulations on your re-election.
The nation looks forward to a humane and peaceful and candid final term.
Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity
from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail