Our esteemed commander-in-chief has been touring Africa the last few days, where he apparently is incredibly popular. This seemed initially to confirm what we're always hearing about how hopelessly backward Africa is politically and socially, as a result of centuries of tribal warfare and colonial exploitation. But now that I've stopped to think about it, Bush's status as a visiting hero makes sense given that most of his predecessors, notably that great saint of American conservatism, Ronald Reagan, mostly behaved as though Africa didn't even exist.
Bush has spent billions of dollars to combat the ongoing African AIDS epidemic, and has renewed calls during this visit to the rest of the world to take action against the genocidal civil war that still rages in the Darfur region of Sudan. Would it be uncouth to mention that the tens of billions Bush has spent to help out Africa is dwarfed by how much he has spent the last five years to prosecute the arbitrary and botched war in Iraq?
They don't quibble over such comparisons in Africa, apparently. In Liberia, local pop star Juli Endee wrote and performed a song entitled "Thank you George Bush" in honor of our president's arrival in the capital city of Monrovia. Dig some of these lyrics:
Thank you for democracy Thank you for the rule of law Thank you for debt relief
George W. Bush has brought all those things to Africa? God, it's like finding out that your father has a second family on the side, and he's been secretly giving them all your stuff. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for Africa. Democracy and the rule of law are great, at least that's what my fellow Americans who are old enough to remember them first-hand tell me. Are all the manufacturing jobs we used to have, which everyone told us were shipped to Mexico, secretly in Africa, too? And our dominance in science and engineering, did Bush give that away to Liberia? I won't be mad, I just want to know.
I'm not mad, really. I don't even feel that betrayed. Bush's presidency here in the United States, the country he is actually legally the president of, has been such an abject, miserable failure, that it's nice to know he's done a good job somewhere, even if it is thousands of miles away from the hundreds of millions of American citizens he's supposed to have been looking out for these last seven years.