In the early 2000s a hit song by Darryl Worley, Have You Forgotten?, became the rallying cry for the right against those of us who thought from the very beginning that invading Iraq was the greatest blunder in the War on Terror. Crowds took to the streets in cities across the world in protest of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq under the premise that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and either had shared or planned to share them with Al Qaeda.
Bush was miraculously successful in connecting Hussein, a secular dictator who stood for the very principles Osama Bin Laden railed against, to Bin Laden by making us fear that the next 9/11 would come in the form of the infamous “mushroom cloud.” The Bush administration and their supporters began to publicly question the patriotism of any American who dared to ask what Hussein had to do with the 9/11 attacks. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News even advocated renaming the “french” fry the “freedom” fry as a slight to our NATO ally to whom we owe our very independence and who gave us our Statue of Liberty, after France suggested invading Iraq was a bad idea and irrelevant to the War on Terror. Remember seeing all of those “Boycott France” bumper stickers?
Watching our nation be led by the likes of Bush into an unnecessary war for bogus reasons while letting the real culprit of 9/11 slip away in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan was a sickening time for me and for most rational Americans. This disgust was fueled into downright hatred every time I heard Worley sing “don’t you tell me not to worry about Bin Laden” after the song had just addressed the public angst over the invasion of Iraq as if Hussein and Bin Laden, Iraq and Afghanistan, were interchangeable names.
Worley, like a huge chunk of Nashville stars of the early 2000s operated as de facto Bush Administration propagandists. Remember what happened to the Dixie Chicks’ Nashville career when they dared to speak out against Bush’s war? Nashville would have rather had Americans encouraged by Toby Keith to “put a boot in your ass” because “it’s the American way.” That is precisely why, in disgust, I quite listening to contemporary country music during that time. For my wife Ali, this was a time of stress; when she would listen to country stations and clowns like Keith or Worley came on the radio, I would go into a tirade about the topics these clowns were carrying on about. I cannot stress enough, even now, how much I hate those songs!
Now, as I see support for Mitt Romney and the Republicans running pretty much dead even with the President, I am brought back to Worley’s question, “Have You Forgotten?” Have we forgotten the waning years of the last GOP White House, when the economy was in free fall and the future looked so bleak? Have we forgotten the damage done by eight years of fighting two wars completely on credit as the taxes needed to pay for those wars have been cut? Have we forgotten the stress that many of our fellow Americans felt each day as they drove to work wondering if today would be the day they would face a lay off or have their position outsourced? Have we forgotten the sights of house after house boarded up and foreclosed on in cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Orlando? Have we forgotten how our property values across the nation, the only investment many Americans own, dropped by half in the wake of those foreclosures?
Today, for completely different reasons, Darryl Worley’s words echo like nails on a chalkboard in my ears into yet another decade. To think that after four short years, in which we have come so far from the bleak outlook we faced in 2008, we would ever want to look back and give Bush’s policies another chance as outrageous as ignoring the people who attacked us on 9/11 and attacking a third-party who was not involved. I plead for you to wake up America or have you forgotten?
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