Could there be anything more confusing and shocking than to read that our country was offering $35 million in aid to the areas affected by the tsunamis, but that the cost of inauguration parties would be about $40 million? Does anyone else think that this is wrong?
- Mark Cuban
They’re a ceremony of our history. They’re a ritual of our government. And I think it’s really important to have the inauguration every time. I think it’s also good for Washington’s economy, for people to come in from around the country, for the hotels to be full, and the restaurants to be full, and the caterers to be busy. I think that’s important.
- Laura Bush
It may ultimately prove to be an “apples & oranges” question, but it is one that is attracting an increasing amount of attention. In a time of war (Iraq & Afghanistan) and devastation (Southeast Asia’s tsunami), should we be spending $40 million on Thursday’s Presidential Inaugural celebration? Is tradition important enough for us to ignore the pain and suffering of so many? Or is that tradition to be viewed as a means of celebrating the history and rituals that make this country what it is?
While no one doubts or is disputing the economic benefits of Thursday’s Inaugural celebration, SHOULD we be spending money on parties, dinners, and black tie balls when so many are suffering so terribly? No reasonable person would claim that $40 million would solve all of the problems elsewhere in the world, but devoting it to humanitarian relief would certainly seem to be a better use of the money- never mind the fact that it would send the message to the rest of the world that Americans are willing to forego their own creature comforts in order to lend a helping hand when it is needed.
Wouldn’t it send a strong message if George W. Bush would come out and say something like, “I think that this celebration is inappropriate in light of all the suffering taking place in less fortunate parts of the world. We are going to donate the Inaugural money to humanitarian relief efforts, and we call on the rest of the world to make a similar commitment.”? Wouldn’t that FINALLY put the “Compassionate” in Conservative?
The fact that our First Lady seems to not understand the message that is being sent by this celebration of excess should be taken as an indication of just how out of touch this Administration is.
For a President who is fond of calling himself a “Compassionate Conservative”, would scaling back the Inaugural Celebration not send a positive message to the rest of the world? What harm would it do to use at least some of the money to alleviate the suffering of so many who now have so little? Of course, I realize that charity is not necessarily a Republican value, but simple human decency would go a long way in a case such as this. By setting an example, Republicans could finally demonstrate that they recognize that there are and can be causes greater than their own material satisfaction.
Somehow, I think the caterers and the hotels in DC will survive. No one is going to go out of business simply because we divert the $40 million that was initially intended for the celebration of George W. Bush’s coronation. Once again, Republicans had a golden opportunity to hit one out of the park, and once again it’s a swing and a miss. Laura Bush seems to have no real problem with that.
Of course, Mrs. Bush certainly wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to wear clothes worth untold thousands of dollars. Hmm…I wonder how many meals that would buy for starving children in Thailand, Indonesia, or Sri Lanka?
Party on, Garth. May y’all enjoy your martinis and caviar…and don’t trouble yourself with the thought that thousand of children will go to bed hungry.