Don Williams
Photo by Justin Williams

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, blogger, fiction writer, sometime TV commentator, and is the founder and editor emeritus of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a Golden Presscard Award from Sigma Delta Chi Society of Professional Journalists, a best Commentary Award from SDC, Best Feature Writing from the Associated Press Tennessee Managing Editors, the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize from the Associated Press, Best Non-Deadline Reporting from the United Press International, Best Novel Excerpt from the Knoxville Writers Guild, a Peacemaker Award from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, five Writer of the Month Awards from the Scripps Howard Newspaper chain, and many others. In 2011 he was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame. His 2005 book of journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes is under revision for a second printing, and he is at work on a novel and a book of journalism. His columns appear at and have been featured at many other well-known websites. To run his column, gratis, at your website, post this link to a dedicated spot: Need a speaker, panelist, tv commentator or teacher for your group or to lead a writing workshop, in your town? Email

Insights navigation:

[ Insights ]

RSS feed

Don Williams comments

Judging George
(Copyright by Don Williams, All rights reserved   02/22/2002)

To ask a person on the street how he or she thinks President Bush is doing so far--NOT COUNTING THE WAR--is like asking Mrs. Lincoln how she liked the play... BESIDES THAT.

Nobody seems to consider much besides the war on terror. Ron Castle does though. An environmental writer from Decherd, Tenn., Castle sent me these lyrics he wrote for a song. Sung to the tune of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". Castle calls it "God Save the GOP." Here are the song lyrics, with apologies to Greenwood:

Some day when all the oil is gone--I've burned it all my life
And I have to go to work again riding nothing but my bike
I'll thank my lucky stars to be living here today
But I'll wonder why I'm pedaling--things don't have to be this way

And I'm sad to be a Republican who supported Dick Cheney
Who hides the names of energy pals who make our policy
And I'll madly stand up next to you and make this earnest plea
The GAO should have those names, God save the GOP.

From the coal fields of Wyoming, to the hills of Tennessee
From Enron down in Texas, from sea to shining sea
From ANWR in Alaska, and offshore near L.A.
The folks who killed the Kyoto Treaty, make me want to stand and say

That I'm sad to be a Republican who supported Dick Cheney
Who hides the names of energy pals who make our policy
And I'll madly stand up next to you and make this earnest plea
The GAO should have those names, God save the GOP.

I'll pass any emails on to Ron. Already the phone lines are bulging I'll bet, if recent experience is a guide. My column two weeks ago drew emails from a couple of people who got really ticked off that I would mention Al Gore's name. Much less that he had made a public appearance in Tennessee (which, I KNOW, Gore lost). Or maybe it was because I brought up the (by some, best-forgotten) factoid that Gore got a half-million more votes than Bush in the last election.

I tried to explain that I brought it up only to show--by contrast--what a non-factor Gore has become recently. I'm glad I didn't mention that only one of our 43 presidents ever got more votes than Gore.... Ooops. I've done it again.

As I say, by contrast to his popularity then, Gore has become largely invisible. Except for a couple of recent appearances, he's barely been seen or heard from.

At least one reader got my point.

Alan Kerekes of Oak Ridge responded with this definition of the word agoraphobia, (pronounced uh-GORE-uh-foe-bee-uh)

"Main Entry:  ag o ra pho bia : abnormal fear of being helpless in an embarrassing or inescapable situation that is characterized especially by the avoidance of open or public places...."

Hmmm, yes, that would seem to sum up Gore's last year. I might add a second definition.

Agoraphobia: Irrational fear and hatred of Al Gore.

As for my own assessment of Bush, I'd have to say he's handled the war masterfully. He pointed at a map of Afghanistan and said, "Bomb here." I'm not sure Gore could have handled that.

Seriously, Bush has mostly performed admirably. You can fault him for such things as our recent strategy of targeting tall men in an effort to kill Bin Laden, but you have to admire the way Bush rolled his sleeves up to mix and mingle with rescue workers in New York and U.S. troops abroad. Even as I write he's overseas wooing allies and enemies alike. His down-home charm is paying off. Heck, I always said he was likable.

On the business, economic and environmental fronts, however, he appears to have put foxes in charge of the hen house, under cover of war. Time will tell.