Less than 24 hours to go for the worst eight years in the past 68 years of our history. Even during the violence and sacrifices of WWII, the nation had a shared purpose, a sense of togetherness, the knowledge that they were fighting and sacrificing for a cause that would result in a better world. Even during the strife, divisions, and excesses of the Sixties, people were fighting over issues that meant something, a borderline unjust war, equality and opportunity for all, the notion that human beings could be more than they had been in the past. What, exactly, have the past eight years been about by contrast? A tongue-tied fucking fool who saw, and used, every problem the country faced as a polemical opportunity to push an agenda that is disconnected from the concerns of most Americans. Even if the conservative agenda had not been a spectacular failure, would the country be better off now than it was in 2000? Would we be better off with even greater income and wealth inequality? Better off as a nation that uses torture? Spies on its own citizens? Is reflexively hostile to science and progress? Is contemptuous towards ecology and safeguarding the health and future of the planet? Has a chief executive unfettered by oversight? Felt, and behaved like, it had the unilateral power to wage wars on other countries with no provocation? Is run by the likes of Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin (who are, incredibly enough, even bigger fucking fools than W), intellectually backed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill Kristol?
Sometimes I look back on the past eight years and think, "We got off cheap." Cheap or not, I can't help but thinking we got -- at least -- what we deserved, because we, as a nation, ultimately let the past eight years happen. Let it happen with Bush v Gore, with a press corps run amok, with jingoism after 9/11 when cool headedness was needed, with sitting on our asses watching reality TV while the country was spiraling out of control. Never again, please, never again.