Enough with the Dubya bashing already! As Bush Jr’s reign is coming to an end, it’s time for summaries, round-ups and other types of improbably long lists compiling everything Bush did wrong in his life, or, if we’re lucky, only during his time in office. It’s not likely to stop anytime soon as Christmas is just around the corner and nothing screams family entertainment like remembering the way Dubya sank the United States ship.

As much as I love me some retarded cowboy jokes, we tend to forget the educational value of W’s shortcomings. We may have lost sight of hope and may have relied on unhealthy role models in the last eight years. I have to admit, I certainly lowered my standards of expectations; but now we know what we do NOT want, and that’s the beginning of a start. Instead of being spoiled and unrealistic baby-boomers, we are drawing some lines, establishing some limits and creating some rules for our kids to live by. Here are a two particularly close to my heart for starters:

Take the death penalty, for instance. In the glorious Lone Star state, the only place in the world to carry on death execution in the electric chair, it’s not just a legal matter, it’s also a question of identity. Since the capital punishment has been reinstated in the country in 1976, Texas has had the highest rate of executions (423, compared to only 102 for Virgina, ranked second). We can’t really isolate the state for its bloodthirsty ideal of justice: a May 2005 Gallup poll had 74% of respondees in “favor of the death penalty for a person convicted of murder”. But what about the mentally retarded? If a criminal conviction requires the mens rea – the intent – can a mentally retarded or mentally ill individual be held fully responsible for his actions? A 2002 Supreme Court case, Atkins vs. Virginia, ruled that the execution of mentally retarded people was falling right into the definition of “cruel and unusual punishment” (as described by the 1975 Convention Against Torture). It didn’t stop Texas from executing inmate James Lee Clark in 2007, whose IQ peaked at 65. Texas argued that Clark was “faking his retardation”. You can’t hold George W. Bush responsible for war crimes. His functional illiteracy stopped him from grasping the full extent of a UN Security Council veto in 2001; and such ignorance can surely help us be more compassionate if we deem the Abu Ghraib sentences inappropriate: only twelve soldiers were convicted, among which one saw his military career end another one was sentenced to ten years in a federal prison. Other soldiers were reprimanded and/or fined. It’s not really a double-standard if you don’t really know what double-standard means. Don’t forget your dictionary, kids!

Talking about soldiers and double-standards, let’s see what Dubya-the-draft-dodger has to say about war veterans, those dirty hippies preaching activism in the American streets, disturbing public order with their peaceful protests! They may have served under the flag, but obviously this didn’t help them get any sense of what freedom entails, whatsoever. Take the case of Nick Morgan for instance. On October 15th, in the final race towards the presidency, the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) committee is peacefully marching in Hampstead, NY towards an Obama/McCain debate at Hofstra University. We are talking about soldiers serving in a besieged country for an unlawful war, marching in American streets in their own uniforms, exercizing their right to ask a question during a presidential debates. Democracy Now! reported that fifteen people were arrested during this protest; but the most shocking news was released in the form of a video showing 24 years old veteran Nick Morgan being trampled by a Nassau County policeman’s horse, resulting in a concussion and a broken orbital. The video, distributed virally through YouTube and independant news sites, has shocked the country. The war might have caused a serious popular division; but everyone pretty much agrees on the unconditional support that has to be given to the troops and the dire conditions in which they are trying to work. In return, they are being assaulted and severely wounded by policemen during a peaceful protest, do not receive immediate medical treatment – Morgan was shoved into a police car – and further medical treatment would not be covered by their insurance (wounds were not sustained in combat). Read what Nick Morgan has to say following the incident.There is only so much a president can do once he sends his population’s children to war. Can’t take care of them all, can we?

(stay tuned for more of George W. Bush: what’s important is to participate, not to win)