Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Two Americas

I was talking about the "Two Americas" last night with a co-worker from Spain.  I was describing how it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people: the divide between rich and poor; educated or not; white-collar or blue collar; city vs. rural; coast vs. "heartland".  He said he's seen some of that--between attending a U.S. high school in a rural part of a state bifurcated by the agriculture/industry divide, and then living and working in D.C.  He said they are just two very different places.  I'm fairly sure most of us would agree with that.
Today the news is that our Number 1 and Number 2 constitutional officers within the executive branch authorized the use of classified information for political gain--and possibly to mislead the country into a war.  These allegations could be true or false, but our reaction to them as a country will be telling, as far as which of the two Americas really shows up.
Are we the America that holds the law above all men, and where personal ambition is not to be put above national interest.  In short--a nation where even the President has to follow the law, and suffer consequences for not doing so.
Or are we an America where the President can do whatever he wants with his office, so long as I would prefer to grab a beer with him rather than the other guy running?
Yet another version, are we going to react as though President Bush is a Dubai company specializing in sea-commerce trying to buy U.S. based assets from a company owned by a different foreign country?
Or are we going to react as though President Bush is a commander in chief using faulty intelligence and cherry-picking hand-crafted analyses to support a faulty position and immerse America in a war he has recently stated will ultimately be"someone else's problem"? (It's all the way at the bottom.)

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