Monday, May 14, 2007

He Can't Do Anything More

I pile on Bush a lot. Primarily because he's an idiot, but also, more reasonably, because of his likelihood to make ridiculous statements in public.

On this past sunday (the 13th), Bush made a speech about the colony at Jamestown. Instead of making it a speech about the struggles of fulfilling the American dream or some other sort of mildly jingoistic statement about the country, he said that Jamestown is proof that democracies require huge sacrifices.

Now, I'm not some old guy sitting in a historical archive in Virginia that can tell you about what the treaty signed at Appomattox Court House in 1865 by Confederacy General Lee to end the Civil War and make my people free (props, Grant, you boozer) said, but I'm fairly confident that Jamestown is probably not the town that you want to exemplify as a microcosm of democracy.

The primary reason for this is that Jamestown wasn't actually a democracy. In fact, the whole country wasn't a democracy. The discriminatory legislative body that was the House of Burgesses still had to run all passed legislation by its overseers across the pond. Additionally, this is the colony where Black people were first enslaved and women were traded for tobacco to be married (she's worth her weight in tobacco. No, seriously, that was the trade) to the single men in the colony who almost died on several occasions because they settled in a swamp and had little concept of how to sustain themselves. They didn't become a self-sustaining colony until 1612 when John Rolfe (yes, Pocahontas's John Rolfe) started exporting tobacco out to England.

In addition to the ineptness, the Whites were getting hammered by the Native American tribes who, in 1622 and 1644, attacked the settlers with tremendous force. In the end, Jamestown didn't even survive as a capitol and barely as a town because it was poorly located with little benefit to its citizens or the state. Additionally, people in Jamestown were regularly dying from outbreaks of malaria due to the high amount of mosquitoes that live in most swampy areas of the world (D.C. is no different as it is also built on a swamp).

So, I don't know how a settlement that is poorly located, generally inhospitable, violent, and reliant on the "generosity" of the Portugese and English for sustenance is a good example for the idea of democracy that flourishes in America and other countries of the world. But, then again, this whole speech is not a celebration of the settlement, but an attempt to justify the war in Iraq. I have to say that this is one of the most classless things that I've ever read.