Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's True: Bush Declares 'National Character Counts Week'

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, going to the White House web site is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you're gonna get. It may be some hilarious prevarication by press secretary Tony Snow or it may be the usual verbal bumbling or outright lies by George W. Bush in one of his speeches. But one place that's always sure to give you a you-can't-make-this-stuff-up moment, is going to the section giving Bush's presidential proclamations.

In 2006 alone, we've seen hypocritical celebrations that included the irony of Child Health Day -- from an administration that's done nothing to make American children healthier -- to a warmonger like Bush lauding Prayer for Peace day and the grotesque spectacle of Gold Star Mother's Day being heralded by a man who is responsible for creating so many new Gold Star Mothers.

We have another one to add to that collection because, whether you realize it or not, we're smack-dab in the middle of what Bush has officially proclaimed National Character Counts Week. It runs October 15 through October 21 and is intended, according to Bush, to "renew our commitment to instilling values in our young people and to encouraging all Americans to remember the importance of good character."

"As individuals, we all have an obligation to help our children become responsible citizens and realize their full potential," reads the Bush proclamation. "By demonstrating values such as integrity, courage, honesty, and patriotism, all Americans can help our children develop strength and character."

Fortunately, in our household, we have a child who truly is being taught these values and we hold up this president and his lying, corrupt administration as examples of everything our little boy does not want to be.

Of every president in United States history, how hypocritical is it for George W. Bush to talk about integrity and honesty? This is a guy who ran for president saying that "it’s time to restore honor and dignity to the White House" and then proceeded to set new records for lying to the American people, while making the United States the most despised, disrespected country in the world.

The president who speaks so stridently about honesty is the same guy who got people to vote for him by claiming over and over that he was a "uniter not a divider" and then went on to bitterly divide this country more than it has been since our own Civil War.

And, sadly, the biggest example of this administration's adherence to honesty and integrity is how they lied about weapons of mass destruction and the bogus connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to force us to war with Iraq -- and continued to do so even after evidence to the contrary became public knowledge.

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories...for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them," said Bush in May of 2003, despite the fact that, well, that wasn't true.

I also don’t recall in grades K-12, my time in the military or my subsequent four years of college leaning that it was part of our national "character" to unilaterally invade a sovereign country with no justification and with no direct threat to us but, hey, maybe I missed that day of class. I'm also pretty damn sure that our national character isn't embodied in the number of Republicans who have been nailed for everything from accepting bribes to money laundering in the last few years and I think the court of public opinion has already weighed in on how much character it takes for the GOP to launch a major cover-up to protect one of their pedophiles in Congress.

I don’t have the space required to outline every bit of dishonesty and lack of character shown by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their whole cabal of miscreants, but it also includes Bush lying about his party's wedge issue of the new decade -- gay marriage.

"The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're trying to get me into," said Bush, to Larry King, while running for president in 2000. Of course, we know what's happened since -- gotta pay those debts to the Religious Right -- because there was Bush in February of 2004 saying "Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife."

Bush ends his stirring proclamation saying "National Character Counts Week is an opportunity to recognize the depth of America's character and appreciate those who pass on our values to future generations."

It's a good thing that our children learning honesty, integrity and character begins at home or the "future generations" might waste time looking for it in this president, his administration and the Republican-controlled Congress -- which, of course, would be like trying to find WMD in Iraq.