Hail to the Chief, or not
I was pleased to see this letter to the editor today, published by my hometown newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (in the deeply red state of Texas), and written by my friend of almost 40 years, Paul Tullis. Needless to say, his comments on the Bush inauguration, and what it could have meant for the Tsunami victims, are both necessary, and sadly utopian.
Congratulations to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for using his high profile to voice what many have been thinking and saying to one another -- that the parties and balls surrounding President Bush's inauguration aren't the best way to spend $40 million.
Coming as it does on the heels of one of the worst natural disasters ever, not to mention in the middle of a bloody war that Bush initiated, the president's bash makes our country appear callous toward the victims of the tsunami and the war.
Laura Bush said in a recent interview that the inauguration celebration should never be canceled, and she chatted about the dresses she would wear to the various events. Perhaps she has forgotten that, in 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt directed that his inauguration be a low-key affair without expensive festivities, out of respect for Americans giving their lives overseas.
What a generous gesture it would have been for the Bushes to do the same and take the money raised so far and give it to aid the tsunami survivors.
It wouldn't have raised our government's total giving to the level of some smaller countries, but it would have been a powerful symbol to the world that we have our priorities straight. The president could have offered to return the contributions to those who didn't want their money used for that purpose, but I'll bet most would have agreed to the move and donated even more.