There was a song 42 years ago, released in 1965, called “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Anybody heard of it?
It was one of the defining tunes of a generation — the generation, in fact, that barfed forth one George W. Bush, the current president of the United States.
We assume that young Mr. Bush heard the song, partied to it, and even celebrated some of its anti-establishment message, at least until he discovered God and Laura.
And this is where the story should have ended. A ranch, a loving wife, a strong religious belief, two lovely daughters. Perfect.
But fate dictated otherwise, and the young man, because of his familial connections, became quasi-successful as the general manager of a baseball team (thanks to the public largesse), was elected governor of the great state of Texas, and then, through some really brilliant political maneuvering, ascended to the presidency of the United States of America, at the time the one overwhelming superpower of the planet Earth.
This is not to denigrate Mr. Bush at all. History is rife with examples of perfectly good men ascending to positions far beyond their capabilities. In most circumstances they are not to blame. The overwhelming number of these find themselves in this position because of parentage. What happens is that a really smart and really opportunistic group latches onto them and employs them to figurehead their cause.
The problem is that sometimes these figureheads actually begin to believe that their title bestows on them the powers inherent in it. This is a very dangerous situation, as we have repeatedly seen since roughly 2002.
And sometimes those who help bring these kings to power go along with this folly.
At any rate, pretty soon you have some very smart but sometimes misguided individuals teaming up with a not-so-bright monarch to put forward an agenda that wreaks havoc upon not only one’s own country but the whole planet.
What has this partnership bestowed upon us today?
1. Never-ending war.
2. Rampant corruption.
3. A deteriorating natural environment.
4. A shrinking middle class.
5. A richer upper class.
6. A shameful waste of dollars and resources.
7. Loss of respect for what should be the greatest example of democracy in the world.
Lest some who read this think it a political rant: It is not. I was just as opposed to Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, and he was a Democrat.
The problem with being an American idealist is that one believes the country’s leaders should live up to the same ideals that founded this country.
And this is why it is devastating when they do not.
Forty-two years ago Mick Jagger criticized the rampant commercialism he saw in the United States and at the same time joked about his own sexual follies. Today, the stakes are much higher for another man who is in a far more lofty position.
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were so embarrassed about “Satisfaction” that they didn’t want to put it on their next album. Fortunately, their bandmates voted otherwise.
Unfortunately, Mr. Bush carries no similar embarrassment for the dismal performance of his administration.
This is one reason why, on Earth Day 2007, that satisfaction is still so elusive.