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Please undo the damage

Matt Zalaznick

Sept. 11 didn’t bring America together. Katrina didn’t bring America together. Disgust with the activities of Jack Abramoff and Ken Lay hasn’t brought America together. The war in Iraq has torn the country apart. Maybe W. – or maybe the eight years of unmitigated failure – can bring America together to undo the vast damage his administration has done to the country, our intellectual life and America’s standing in the world. My first child was born in May, and I want someone, even a Republican, to fix our nation. I want someone to wipe from the homeland all traces of W.’s small-time tyrannies, military idiocy, cultural ignorance, disdain for anyone who earns less than $1 million a year, and his almost criminal scorn for the environment. We liberals have accused W. of trying to take America back to the 1950s. I want the next administration to bring us back to the 21st century, where science and civil rights win back the hard-earned prominence they had attained before the Bonehead in Chief bumbled off his ranch and drooled his Medieval philosophy all over culture wars. I hope our next leader will not kowtow to fringe groups that, declaring themselves instruments of “God’s will,” want to tell the rest us the proper content of our art and discourse. True believers who are convinced they speak for an infallible god are often called terrorists, but such vehemence and certainty also happens to be the worldview of W.’s beloved and hyper-sensitive base. I hope our nation’s leaders after 2008 will let fanatics worship however they please while keeping their narrow, sometimes bigoted ideas far away from government policy. I want the next administration to entrench policies – with a constitutional amendment if necessary – that guarantee all Americans intellectual freedom, freedom of intimacy and freedom from government intrusion into our bodies and lifestyles. The next Congress should endorse a constitutional amendment that guarantees abortion rights and the rights of homosexuals to adopt, marry, receive medical benefits and any of the other freedoms the rest of us enjoy just for being American. I hope the next leaders of our military and crafters of our peacetime foreign policy will restore some of America’s respect abroad. I don’t mean we shouldn’t use our military when it’s necessary – like when we’re truly threatened or if a people, the Sudanese in Darfur, for instance, become the victims of genocide. America used to be the policeman of the world, and that caused plenty of problems. But I worry that W., Darth Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have turned America into the drunken thug of the world. I don’t want my child to live in an America that’s despised by the world because the Quagmire Kids decided to assuage their draft-dodging guilt by bombing to smithereens any world leader who looks at them funny. And I say funny because they don’t seem willing to confront in any serious way the regimes – Iran and North Korea, for instance – that are actually a little bit scary.I hope our next administration will worry about whether our air is safe to breath and if our water is clean to drink and if our wildlife can survive and whether our national parks still exist and if our oceans are still safe to swim in. I want my child to visit the Florida Keys and Yosemite National Park – not Grand Canyon National Toxic Chemical Storage Ditch or the Arches National Superfund site or the Yellowstone National Industrial Park and Snowmobile Speedway. I want my child to live in what I believe is a great country that has simply been hijacked by the men and women who’ve promised to protect us from hijakcers. Assistant Editor for Local News Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926 or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com. Check his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG. Also check out the “Biased Liberal Media” podcast at https://www.vaildaily.com/section/PODCASTVail, Colorado


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