Arlington Cemetery

*** This article was originally published back in September ***

It’s old news now that the Bush family is in the midst of planning a wedding. I don’t suffer the details so I couldn’t say much about which twin is getting married nor do I want to spend the minimal energy to try and find out. If such detail is important it is very easy to find. I don’t know who the lucky guy is. But I can tell you he is neck deep in conservative politics and is prime Republican Party material. There is talk about a white house wedding in the rose garden with white lace. I can imagine the guest list would read like a who’s who in US and world politics first, who’s who in the Republican Party second, who’s who in entertainment a close third, and pulling up the rear would be family and friends. I’m pretty sure my invitation will be lost in the mail. Who wants to be bothered with all that secret service security and all that intrusive background checks anyway?

But it occurred to me that while the Bush’s have their celebration of the legal union of a man and a woman there are thirty seven hundred sixty families across America that have planned or are in the midst of planning the funerals to celebrate a loved one lost in this war of American led aggression in Iraq. And by the time the wedding day actually takes place at least another two hundred or so service men and women would have paid the ultimate price. Let’s just round the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle to about four thousand by the time the wedding is done.

Why do we keep sending non-Bush family men and women to be killed in the war on terror? Because the sacrifice of the men and women who have already died would be meaningless if we didn’t throw a few more lives after them. And let’s not forget a few more hundreds of billions of dollars to boot. We have to sacrifice more because the sacrifice of the ones already sacrificed isn’t enough. We have to win. Otherwise we look like wimps to the rest of the world and we will continue to embolden an enemy that has already been emboldened by confounding an invading superpower for five years come March in what looks like a stalemate of military tactics. America has to fight our enemies there so we don’t have to fight them here may sound like a responsible plan. But for how long will this plan take? How many lives will this plan cost? How much of the national treasure must we continue to spend? Providing every American with adequate healthcare was assumed to be way too expensive an undertaking to even try. But a never ending war on its way to a cool trillion dollars is fiscal responsibility.

So by the time the Bush family makes its tough decision over whether to use the Waterford or the Wedgwood crystal, four thousand families would have made the choice between the marble or the granite headstones for their family member. The Bush’s aren’t going to lose a daughter. They will gain a son in law. Mr. Bush is more than happy to leave the privilege of losing a loved one in the war on terror for the rest of America.

According to his just released book Dead Certain, Mr. Bush confesses that he spends a lot of time crying. He’s shed more tears as president than anyone would give him credit for. If Mr. Bush sheds a single tear over what happens to people it would be a surprise to me. People have died because of his actions and his lack of action. To compound the misery of the war in Iraq there is the war effort in Afghanistan that has been woefully mismanaged. On top of all this add the government’s lack of a response to Katrina. Two years later people are still living in trailers if they were lucky enough to get one at all. The only major business in gulf coast Mississippi that is thriving is the casino. Those people in southern Mississippi need some kind of hope to get out of their predicament. They will pull their faith in a slot machine because they can’t depend on their government.

I hope Mr. Bush can shed a tear or two for all the people who continue to suffer with any kind of medical coverage. Someone had the nerve to say that everyone in America gets medical coverage whether they can pay for it or not. But the truth is that people are only guaranteed to get only emergency treatment, the most expensive form of medical care available. For many people, the emergency treatment comes too late to make a significant difference in their life. It is a classic example of a stitch in time saves nine. Only this time it’s more like preventive medicine, over time, saves lives. But who cares? Mr. Bush may care enough to say that he cries at night or whenever, but he doesn’t care enough to do anything about it. In fact, Mr. Bush is actively working to prevent the expansion of the number of children who would qualify for medical coverage under a federal program. In the president’s eyes, right next to all those crocodile tears, it would encourage too many people not to pay the full cost of insurance and would undercut the insurance industry’s profits.

Of course Mr. Bush sheds a lot of tears as the president. Sometimes I want to cry too just from looking at him. But it takes a lot more than just a claim of tears to make up for his sorry performance. Just ask some of the families that have lost a loved one or suffered a loss because of his incompetence or lack of compassion or concern for profits. So whatever tears may fall at the wedding for Mr. Bush’s daughter, I hope people remember all the tears that have fallen in well over four thousand funerals across America.