No one could have alienated me from friends and family better than George W. Bush
It was Thanksgiving 2000; my family was gathered for the traditional holiday dinner of turkey with all the trimmings. The Presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore had just come to a vote, but still had not been decided due to a recount in Florida.
Someone had started a political conversation at the dinner table with Bill Clinton’s indiscretions being the main topic, but it quickly turned towards Bush/Gore. The comments I heard were typical; “Bush will bring dignity back to the White House;” and “Al Gore is stiff as a board.” I was the only one who wanted Al Gore to become President.
I remember it explicitly, like it was yesterday. I said “If George Bush wins, we’ll be in a war within two years with a possible draft and we’ll get into debt with defense contracts. He was almost illiterate, couldn’t deliver a speech throughout his entire campaign and was a C student, part of the Skull and Bones fraternity and no… I did not want to have a beer with him.”
I was scoffed at, told that I thought the government should take care of me, and that I was always on the wrong side of politics, the typical conservative response. The logic was that Bush was going to have a fantastic cabinet, especially with Colin Powell. That was the beginning of the end of my family relationships. George Bush was named President by the Supreme Court, something that blows my mind to this day.
Immediately following 9/11, there was a lot of heightened emotion and thanks to my addiction to news, I knew it was probably Osama bin Laden who was responsible. As time went on and President Bush made media appearances talking about hunting down the “enemy” and bringing them to justice, I was appalled to learn the entire bin Laden family was escorted out of the United States without being questioned. It wasn’t long before President Bush decided to invade Afghanistan to find Osama bin Laden.
The media went into high gear; we saw videos of monkey bars, training camps and there were videos of Osama bin Laden saying “death to America”. Al Qaeda became a household term. My mother, being from England and living through World War II started to see my point when the Patriot Act was passed. She told me herself it reminded her of Nazis, but she still backed President Bush and his hunt for bin Laden.
In 2002, right out of the blue, Saddam Hussein was being accused of harboring Al Qaeda operatives and “weapons of mass destruction” by President Bush and his Administration. The media once again went into high gear and by the beginning of 2003, Colin Powell was testifying before the United Nations with a fake anthrax vial. Powell all the while looked down seemingly knowing he was lying.
I watched every day of those hearings and just could not believe we were going to invade Iraq and scale down troops in Afghanistan… a country I wasn’t optimistic about anyway.
As the Iraq war unfolded, conversations with friends, family and acquaintances started to transform into disagreements or arguments. I couldn’t understand how these people I liked and loved could actually believe these wars were justified. All I could do was just shake my head and walk away.
I kept talking about the budget surplus we had that was wasted, how much debt we were getting into, and being in Los Angeles, I was living through my third or fourth housing bubble. President Bush sent stimulus checks twice to all of us so we could go out to eat and not think about the wars.
It was astounding and it seemed like I only came across a few people who thought President Bush was on the wrong path. Any talk about the wars in a negative fashion made me sound like a traitor to the victims of 9/11. Things started to feel like the McCarthy era.
Then the 2004 re-election came. The Democrats didn’t have the strongest candidate in John Kerry but I just could not imagine George Bush winning again, but he did… and I cried. I had a 15 year old son, and two step sons, ages 15 and 13. I was still afraid of a draft and these boys were not soldiers or war material.
Many of my Jewish friends in Los Angeles were all for George Bush’s war because it meant a United States presence in the Middle East. I couldn’t believe that could be any American citizen’s priority, but of course their kids were not at war.
At that point I knew I was all alone, I rarely spoke to my siblings. Ironically I went to England in 2006 with my mom. Every time someone found out I was from the United States, I was asked, “How do you like your President?” I was embarrassed, but relieved to be in a country where people knew the war in Iraq was unnecessary.
More importantly, George Bush was recognized for his ignorance, lack of decorum, inability to speak and answer questions off the cuff. He was downright immoral and dragged Prime Minister Tony Blair down with him.
In January of 2005, I got married. My husband was not very involved in politics but knew that I watched closely. At least I got my sons and husband to watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Even they realized how ridiculous the state of the union was in.
In 2008, John McCain ran for President with Sarah Palin against Barack Obama, the potential first black President. I loved how Obama spoke. I thought his background was fit to handle large issues rationally. His wife was a strong woman who knew how to come across firm, but knew when to back off with a sense of humor.
John McCain soon came out and said that the economy was strong and there was nothing to worry about. That same week in 2008, I remember walking into the law firm I worked at. The receptionist was crying saying that she was going to have to work the rest of her life because her 401k was gone. She was one year from retirement. Partners were running around the law firm not knowing what to do.
While so many people were losing their shirts, I had a glimmer of hope. I had a feeling that at least Republicans would lose control of the White House thanks in part to Bushonomics. Between picking Sarah Palin and making a huge gaffe about the largest crash since the Great Depression, John McCain had fallen on his sword. Home prices were tumbling and things were spinning out of control.
By the time my in-laws found out I had voted for Barack Obama and was in favour of the ACA… All of them alienated me. I had no liberal family members except for my husband and sons. Everyone knew how I felt thanks to Facebook. I shared factual information about current events, but they remained in denial. I had quite a few threads they had loaded up with vitriol and harsh words.
I will never forget the night Barack Obama won the Presidency. Most people won’t forget that night of jubilation. As I sat there watching with my mother, my last friend who was not a party line Republican, I said to her, “But mom, bin Laden won. He wanted to take down our economy and he succeeded.”
My mother passed away about nine days after President Obama’s inauguration. She and I were on the same page finally, but she was the last person who didn’t want these wars. In the end, she didn’t approve of George Bush, but was proud of President Obama. Not because he was the first black President, but because he had fire in his belly. He wanted to change things and my mother hoped the Patriot Act would be overturned.
These days I hear people speak out against the wars they were originally in favour of, the economy has improved and I don’t know anybody unemployed. There is a sense of normalcy that has returned even with gridlock in Congress. 14 years of worry, stress, rejection and loneliness, but this country is great and has always made a comeback.
It’s been a lonely road, but fighting for what is right usually is.
Completely biased and one sided article. You could say whatever you want about the Iraqi war, and you stated many misinformations btw in your completely one-sided article. You neglect to mention the fact the economy was thriving throughout most of GW’s presidency, our foreign relations were pretty good, and he protected us after 9/11 which happened a mere 9 months of him being elected into office, which vastly changed all the original plans he had. And, never once did he blame the Clinton Administration even though it was the Bill Clinton Administration who failed to bring Osama Bin Laden in over an 8 year period, despite attacking the Twin Towers during his tenure, and, despite having Bin Laden in our Federal Agent’s cross hair sniper rifle on several documented different occasions.
Fast forward to 2014 the supposed president that you literally drool over, that your dead mother was so thrilled was being elected to office so he could overturn the Patriot Act (Earth to moron, Barak Obama has used the Patriot Act many times now), has made the world the most dangerous it’s ever been in centuries. The boarders are in crisis, there is war in Russia, in Israel, Iraq is in civil war because he pulled out our troops, North Korea is aimlessly testing missiles. You liberals have brought this country to its knees with your reckless voting of a man who quite frankly, I’m not even sure is American.
One day when war is brought to your very doorstep you weak minded fools will come to someone like me for protection, and you’ll realize how ridiculous all your left wing liberal rights really were. Only thing is, you all brought this on yourselves because you voted for a socialist, so I may not be there to help some of you when, not if, but when shit hits the fan…
That would make three of us whose mothers died in peace!! Thanks President Obama!!
One last comment…this one is for the Tea Party specifically. When I was in England, the exact same tea that I buy here for $4.99 a box was .99p over there…so…we may have thrown tea overboard but for some reason it’s still 500% more here in the states…oh those Brits!! Can’t trust them…:)
How ironic…President Obama is doing a press conference on altering the Patriot Act. Hallelujah!
I’m such Progressive Liberal I did have any conservative friends to loose. I have been against everything the Conservatives have done since Reagan. I was hopeful about Obama, but he is too moderate for me. He is better than any Conservative could be. But still not as good as a real liberal. Hillary is even worse. She voted *for* the Patriot Act.
Mike…… Parts of my family are no longer reading my FB posts and I have to be careful what Ts I wear when I visit. Luckily my daughter and I agree. Mom was a one issue voter but I (like to) think that I had converted her before she died. Thanks for the post.
This story mirrors my life also.
Very nicely done. Many of my relatives and friends are now deeply ashamed of their complicity in the Dubya years. Many, of course, are not…
Great piece of writing. I appreciate your point of view. I was right there with you. Was able to remove about 150 friends from Facebook because of the right wing agenda they tried to push and when confronted with evidence to the contrary they could do nothing but explode. Quite liberating.
Luckily, my family and I are free-thinkers and do our research to be well-informed voters – but I do understand some of your plight, for we live in OK – the reddest state in the nation (which many around here see as a kind of award or accomplishment). Thank you for sharing yur story!
Well done, i lost a lot of relationships thanks to George and a few more once they realized i was voting with the other side.
My fool boyfriend voted for Bush because “the other guy will take our guns away!” Boy did he regret it by year two.
Thanks everyone…I had a feeling that there were a lot of us out there…and this isn’t even ALL of the things that happened over those eight years. Even with President Obama, I still get flack that I only voted for him because he is black or whatever. The double standards I see with Republicans/Tea Party is staggering to say the least.
Glad I am here for you!!
Great piece. My sister and I would like to invite you to a family dinner at the home of our tea party cousins in Indiana, where you will eat decimated roast beef (read DRY). LOL.
Sounds good to me!! Thank you!
Love it. My Hoosier relatives are probably next door!
This story you wrote could have been mine. Same thing happened with me. Warned people and they thought I was nuts. Have one living sister whom I have nothing to do with any more due, mostly but not wholly, because of her extreme right-wing and fundamentalist beliefs to this day. Even with seeing how much damage the Bush administration and actions had on my husband and my life economically. The irony is that it is her two adult children who cannot find work to this day! I was sooo happy to read your piece here because it expressed so much of what I have gone through and felt. I know there are likely tens of thousands of us! Two friends of my husband and I switched parties from Repub to Democrat specifically because of Bush. One of them was a state representative who was Republican. And my nephew and his wife, also switched to Democrat, so we do have some friends and family members we have relationships with. It is frustrating as hell that my sister and others like her STILL live in lala land about Bush.
Thank you for this! Obviously, there are MANY of us, sadly.
I love how well written and well thought out this is. I, luckily, come from a very liberal family but, I have quite a few friends who have suddenly decided(after President Obama was elected)that being a libertarian is the way to go. Some of those have even gone so far as to try to convince me that I am actually a libertarian as well. I’ve told a few of them that if they try to claim me as a libertarian again we will no longer be speaking. I don’t have a problem with people having different political views than I do. I have a problem with them trying to force me to share in their beliefs. I’m a very well educated Jewish woman and I will stay a liberal until the day I die because it is what is right. I can’t imagine telling my children “oh I’m sorry you can’t marry who you want, but it is against the law.” Or ” the government gets to decide what you can and can’t do with your own body.” Those two reasons, along with countless more, are why I will proudly remain a liberal. My own 99 year old grandmother proudly voted for Barack Obama twice. That’s a legacy I’ll be proud to carry forward.
Have lost more than one friend & some family & I do that that is too bad, but I do not change my stance. He is one of the best Presidents we have had & tho I disagree with him from time to time- we still have all our rights & are MUCH better with him “:at the helm” than GW Bush” My opinion only.
I was embarrassed to have him as our leader- what would the world think of America? Colin Powell was like a “sacrificial lamb” in front of the United Nations- my husband & I admire him greatly & do think he was following his Commander in Chief.
The wars or conflicts were immoral, unecesary & we think illegal as Bush used his “fear tactic” of ” do you want them fighting in your streets???” many were scared into his thinking. Not us. He was a dufus in that decision & others.
We cringed everytime G Bush went overseas. He was our Leader of the Free world? Good lord! A trained monkey may have done better!!!!
Remember the “Freedom fries??”
I had one discussion with my sister as we cared for our mom as she was dying of ALS- she was 150% for Bush & I the opposite. She died under Bush’s time in the WH but Thank God never did witness 911 as she died several months earlier.
My husband has always said “the terrorists had ALMOST won- they just about desimated the financial sector” If my husband could see that ( HS graduate ) why couldn’t Bush?
We own a “mom & pop” restaurant in Iowa 9 under 50 employees- maybe, maybe 15) & we welcome the ACA act but we have a Republican Govenor & we haven’t heard his take on this.
Just wanted too say we agree 10000000% with what you have written.
I am British and I can assure you we and most of the rest of the world thought he was a fool and the electorate were bigger fools for voting him again. You and others not-withstanding of course.
What a fantastic piece. My mom died 10 days after President Obama was elected, but she managed to vote for him via absentee ballot. She was so excited for his presidency because she understood the damage George W. Bush had done.
Both of our moms died in Peace then!!