I tend to keep myself so up to my eyes in it these days that general blog postings are a little difficult to squeeze into the schedule. Sometimes, however, something happens that simply has to have comment passed upon it. I'm not going to go into a lengthy diatribe here and I'll leave this link-free too, as there's enough else out there (particularly in the blogosphere) for people to find out more if they so wish. However, events of the past few days are ones that cannot go uncommented upon.
Growing up under the shadow cast by Reagan's White House, it felt like that period would never end (time goes much more slowly when you're a child). Particularly vividly remembered are his closeness to Thatcher (whom I loathed) and the mortal fear of the bomb that ran through the playgrounds of my youth. Following him, the first Bush got a stab at the top job, and although I was a little older and understood more about international politics by then, it still felt as if the Reagan era had simply been extended by another four years instead of coming to an end.
Then Clinton took over. There are many criticisms that can be and still are levelled at him (Iraq, Yugoslavia, etc) but the fact was that to me and many others, the world felt safer in his hands. This was particularly the case as Clinton didn't look like he was abusing his position, although America was clearly the most powerful country in the world and most other nations swayed to America's breezes. Even though the Republicans gained control of both Houses only two years into his presidency, he was still able to come out of his tenure looking relatively clean. Not a Johnson, a Nixon, a Reagan, a Bush.
In 2000 the nightmare returned. Of course, I was much older then and understood that much more again about US and international politics, plus had actually lived in America too (three months in Florida, prior to the Gingrich wave), so had a different approach to things. However, when Bush Jnr. took the election, I knew that the world was about to enter another Dark Age. I told my mother on the telephone that there would be another war coming (I didn't quite count on how many there would be!) and I began to pay very close attention to the activities of the Bushies.
The history I'm sure we all know - rejecting Kyoto, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Katrina, etc - so there's little point in picking at it here. Taking a broader brush stroke over it, the entire world has been taken in a terrifying and unprecedented direction by the hooligans squatting the White House for the past six years. America has become a global pariah in a way that it never had done before, even with the range of 'foreign policy' initiatives (Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iran-Contra, to name a few) it had taken prior to the latest set of misadventures.
Finally, within the past few days, the brakes have been put on. The Democrats have won back the House of Representatives for the first time since 1994, some media are reporting that they may even have taken the Senate too, and the first really major scalp of the Dark Side has been claimed by the forces of Progress with the resignation of chief architect of the Iraq disaster, Donald Rumsfeld. A scapegoat perhaps in the face of overwhelming pressure, but a vital first step all the same.
What happens next is really anyone's guess. It's kind of an open playing field again, to some extents. Congressional hearings would seem likely. Rejection at national and international level of an extreme right wing agenda finally seems inevitable. Impeachment may be less likely as the Democrats really have their work cut out for them if they're going to pull something positive from the wreckage, and they may want to be careful over the enemies they make now.
One thing's for sure, the dark, dark days of the absolute power of the Bush Administration that were ushered in during the dawn of the 21st Century have drawn to a close. One has to conclude that from here on in, it can't possibly get any worse (I'll eat my words on that if I have to, but please excuse me the gamble!) and the world now has at the very least, a little breathing space to collectively sit down, think about all that's happened and try to find better ways forward.
After all, it's not getting any cooler on Planet Earth and I think most of us would like to have something to pass on to our kids (and theirs...and theirs...and theirs...and theirs...)