Having been intimately involved in the debate against the second Gulf War and having endured the vicious character assassination campaign of the Bush administration and the right-wing echo chamber, I fully expected to be elated by the fin de regne of the radical rule we have endured over the past eight years Indeed, a number of friends and acquaintances had gleefully written to suggest that Dick Cheney’s back problems were a result of his moving documents related to his role in betraying the identity of my wife, Valerie, a covert CIA officer. And I had tears in my eyes as I realized the historic consequence of the investiture of the first black president of the United States of America, and the hope it represents even as we face difficult circumstances.
A number of friends had gleefully written to suggest that Cheney’s back problems were a result of his moving documents related to his role in betraying my wife’s identity.
But the departure of the Bush-Cheney administration and the neoconservative clique that owned the foreign policy that did so much harm to our standing in the world was anti-climatic, even for one, like me, so immersed in the fights of that time. Today is a day to celebrate the history of our nation, warts and all. It is a day to be reminded, as we are every four years, of the sanctity of our republic, and its consecration in the peaceful transfer of power. Most of all, it is a day that helped us realize the vision of the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” the intent of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Fourteenth Amendment, the dream of the Civil Rights movement, and the commitment of the Voting Rights Act and other legislation from that time. This day the Obamas have made us all proud.
Joseph C. Wilson IV served for 23 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, including as Ambassador to Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe, and as acting Ambassador to Iraq during the first Gulf War under President George H.W. Bush, and as senior director for African Affairs at the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton. After publication of his article, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” in The New York Times debunking the Bush administration’s rationale for the Iraq War, his wife’s identity as a covert CIA office was betrayed by senior administration officials. He is also the author of The Politics of Truth.