Nick Burbules (editor of the invaluable Progressive Blog Digest) is devoting today's post to summarizing some of the truly astonishing low-lights of the catastrophic Bush presidency. Goodbye and good riddance to that illegally installed ignoramus and his malignant manipulators.
Of course, the Bush/Cheney "legacy" will long be with us---in millions of lives destroyed and relatedly, in a fundamentalist Islamic community that has been handed all the ideological ammunition it could ever want; in an economy trashed by deregulation; in government offices heavily populated with incompetent cronies; and so on.
Perhaps the biggest legacy, in the long run (putting aside the now increased possibilities of world-wide destruction, of both climatic and non-climatic varieties) is not so different, when you think about it, from that the Germans inherited: the knowledge that our government can be hijacked, and that many of us will go along for the ride, cheering along the way.
Here, as there, the biggest questions for the future are: can we prevent this from ever happening again? And if so, how?
I don't have an answer to the second question (though again, we might look to Germany for some ideas). However, it seems that a necessary condition on the bare possibility of future prevention is that we recognize, not just as individuals but as a nation, that in the installation and the implementation of the Bush/Cheney regime gross wrongs occurred. Without public recognition of that fact---of the sort that effective investigations, into (a) the crimes of the Bush administration, and (b) of the institutional and personal mechanisms (within the judiciary, the legislature, the military, governmental offices, and the media as well as the executive offices) allowing the associated gross wrongs, might be expected to produce---no change to these mechanisms will occur, and the conditions for future usurpation of our government in service of vile and unconscionable ends will remain intact.