Dear Ashley, During President Bush’s
State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the president read the
following from a letter you wrote last month: “Dear George W.
Bush. If there’s anything you know, I, Ashley Pearson, age 10, can
do to help anyone, please send me a letter and tell me what I can
do to save our country.”

Kate Green

Sweet, sweet Ashley. I almost cried when I heard him read that.
If only we had more children like you. Your doe-eyed stare could
melt the hardest heart, and your innocence and faith are
adorable.

Which makes what I am about to do all the more difficult. Brace
yourself, my child, because I am about to open your eyes and
shatter your world.

I think it would be easiest for both of us if I just came right
out and said it: Your president sucks. He is a liar and a moron. He
is irrational, stubborn and incompetent. He relies on equally
irrational, stubborn and incompetent advisors and baseless faith
instead of reason and common sense. He uses half-truths and scare
tactics to promote his agenda. He is turning the world against us.
He is single-handedly destroying the country. He still can’t
pronounce “nuclear” correctly.

As I’m sure you are aware, Ashley, on Tuesday night the
president described the war in Iraq thusly: “Combat forces of
the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Poland and other
countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the
rule of Saddam Hussein and the people of Iraq are free.” He
went on to claim that “From the beginning, America has sought
international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,
and we have gained much support.” He implies that the efforts
in Iraq and Afghanistan are truly international ones. But this
so-called international coalition is nothing more than the United
States and a handful of toady countries that are too afraid not to
commit troops to the cause. The president thinks that because
you’re young and naïve he can trick you into believing
something that’s simply not true. Don’t let him.

Sadly the president’s crimes go beyond simple lies.
Tuesday night he also outlined several policies that he claimed
were aimed at protecting children like you, Ashley, when in reality
they only seek to promote his not-so-hidden Christian agenda. He
called for increased funding for abstinence programs and drug
testing in high schools. Because you will be in high school in a
few short years, let me warn you: He wants only to invade your
privacy and force his beliefs on you, Ashley. Don’t let
him.

This next part may be a little confusing to you, but I will do
my best to explain it in such a way that you can understand. You
know how much your mommy and daddy love each other, right? They
love each other so much that they made a promise to spend the rest
of their lives together. It is a very special bond that they share.
There are lots of other people who share this special bond, and
sometimes instead of a mommy and a daddy it’s two mommies or
two daddies. That doesn’t mean that they don’t love
each other all the same. They should be able to promise to spend
the rest of their lives together just as your mommy and daddy did,
right Ashley? Well the president doesn’t think so. He wants
to prevent these people from marrying each other in spite of their
love. With rationale based on archaic notions of love and marriage,
he uses words like “sanctity of marriage” and
“moral tradition” to try to confuse you into believing
that even though these people love each other very much they
shouldn’t be allowed to get married. Don’t let him.

But please don’t lose heart, little one. There is still
hope. You asked your president what you can do to save our country.
He replied, “Study hard in school, listen to your mom or dad,
help someone in need and when you and your friends see a man or
woman in uniform, say, ‘thank you.’ ” It sounds
well and good, but the president’s requests are tantamount to
slapping a “God Bless America” bumper sticker on your
mom’s minivan or wearing a “United We Stand”
T-shirt. Let me tell you what the president should have asked you
to do. He should have asked that you tell your parents to vote for
John Kerry, or John Edwards, or Howard Dean, or Wesley Clark
— hell, even a third party candidate. I beseech you: anyone
but George W. Bush. Otherwise, my dear Ashley, we’re
fucked.

Hoard can be reached at
“mailto:j.ho@umich.edu”>j.ho@umich.edu.

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