Being American Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

July 9, 2008 Updated: October 1, 2015
US President George W.Bush jokes as he arrives for the G8 Summit at the Windsor Hotel Toya in Toyako on July 7, 2008. Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised nations Monday launched their annual summit in Japan with surging oil and food prices and cl (Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty Images)
US President George W.Bush jokes as he arrives for the G8 Summit at the Windsor Hotel Toya in Toyako on July 7, 2008. Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised nations Monday launched their annual summit in Japan with surging oil and food prices and cl (Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty Images)

2008 will forever be remembered by some as the seminal moment when many Americans finally felt a kinship towards President Bush—all because of a Federal stimulus check mailed out to millions of taxpayers.

Whether you are a fan of George W. Bush and his politics or not, it's hard to deny that in the ever more cash-strapped U.S.A., money's part in the conversation is bigger than ever.

Gasoline is at an all-time high. The U.S. is buried up to its neck in political and military commitments in the Middle East that are translating into a massive tab.

The word "recession" is literally in the air, and department stores and the like are frequently putting merchandise on creative sales. Don't forget rampant credit card debt, and a floundering housing market that seems like a bottomless pit of horror stories.

In this less-than-cheerful context, President Bush's bright idea to dole out checks to law-abiding tax-filing citizens plays like a stroke of genius. Keep in mind that to middle class Americans, six hundred dollars might as well be a million. It easily translates to much needed clothes, books for college, paying off a credit card, getting some auto work done—or even a nice weekend vacation.

Even though some noted economists have publicly reasoned that the stimulus checks will likely be of little real help to the flailing economy, there's a bright side to even the dourest of assessments—it's called forgiveness.

President Bush, who will leave office in early 2009, is one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history. Americans have a quaint habit of blaming their elected officials for their lot in life. Whether it's health care or social security, being stuck in a no-end-in-sight war in Iraq, or blaming our nation's loss of moral capital on our interrogation methods; these days there always seems to be at least one guy at the dinner party who blames it all on the Bush White House.

Luckily for the Bush Administration and the nay-sayers of the "mission accomplished" dream, we all have one thing in common: we need money to survive. To that end, getting a check for even a few hundred dollars is like a small acknowledgement that the past eight years has been no picnic. Consider for a moment that we can't even pass through a security gate at an airport anymore without removing our shoes to be x-rayed. Now that's sacrifice.

If we can learn to walk barefoot on a cold, filthy airport floor for the greater good, maybe we can also learn to put any dissatisfaction with the Bush administration behind us. After all, a generous gift of giving taxpayer money to taxpayers should be enough of an apology for any American who still bears ill will over the last years.

Now we can all happily go shopping, pay our bills, and drive our SUVs a few extra miles.

If we have learned anything as a nation over the past 230-plus years, it's that in order to move forward we have to put the past behind us. And oddly, it's not that difficult to feel congenial toward someone who gives you a generous check.

So, thank you, Mr. President, for helping Americans to move toward a brighter future by lining our pockets with a little extra cash.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Genevieve Belmaker is a former reporter and editor with The Epoch Times.