Gary Kamiya summarizes what we need to process and get past, if we want to fructify the promise of Barack Obama's joyous, clear-eyed, righteously positive inauguration day:
I cannot forgive Bush for what he did. With reckless arrogance and blind stupidity, he trashed the country I grew up in and love. He has the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on his hands. He exalted greed and selfishness. He spied, tortured and kidnapped. He brought shame to our nation's name.Looking forward to moving forward, being inspired, and living in an era in which compassion and hard work are equally valued.
There must be a reckoning for such grave acts. Unless we acknowledge the grievous damage Bush did -- to the environment, to the economy, to Iraq and the Middle East, to our cherished tradition of civil liberties, to a world that desperately needed a wise and compassionate America -- we will leave ourselves open to making the same mistakes again. Unless we hold those who committed crimes accountable, we will degrade the rule of law, our highest values and morality itself. To free ourselves of the cancer that was the Bush years, we must see it clearly and cut it out.
But clinging to anger, however righteous, eventually corrodes one's soul. You become the thing you hate. You can't get to where you want to go if you are forever looking backward. Like millions of Americans, I have been living with anger and bitterness for much too long. In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln asked Americans to finish their great appointed task "with malice towards none, with charity for all."