The Commonwealth Comment

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Judging George

When Barack Obama swears to uphold the Constitution at noon next Tuesday history will be made in more than one way. Obama will become the nation's first African American president, and George W. Bush, after 8 long years will no longer be Commander-in-Chief. But, it remains to be seen how history will judge the 43rd president.

In many ways George W. is the reason I decided upon a career in journalism. I saw the country's policies shifting and America changing as I'd never seen before.

In 2000, when I was on the 8th grade, Bush was elected President of the United States of America thanks to a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court. The court's bizarre vote discounted hundreds of thousands of votes in Florida. In an even odder twist, the court stated their decision would apply on to Bush v. Gore and would not hold as precedent for any future cases.

Less than a year later, as I was just starting high school, the world stood still as the United States was attacked. I remember hearing about the World Trade Center at the end of my biology class, and then in my next period (choir) we all crowded around the television in room 104 and watched as the towers collapsed. The U.S. stood as one nation, and the War on Terror had officially started.

In 2003 I sat in my World History II class watching a statue of Saddam Hussein topple from its pedestal. Almost 6 years and 4,000 U.S. soldiers later, the war rages on as democracy struggles to take root in Iraq.

Shortly after my graduation in 2005 I watched in horror as a major city in the United States of America drowned under the waters of hurricane Katrina, and devastated the Gulf coast.

These are just some of the changes we have all witnessed in the last 8 years. As I watched these events unfold I found myself asking: "What are we doing? Where's the accountability?!"

That's why I chose journalism. To hold those who make the decisions accountable to those who elected them.

So, President Bush does not receive high marks in the history book of my personal recollection, and ultimately I think how ordinary Americans were affected by his presidency is a far more vital piece to judging his administration than any historian's research.

Going off of the election results from last November, it would seem as though the American people have made up their minds as well.


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