Don Williams
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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

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The problem with supporting Dubya

Several concerned e-mailers suggested--ever so politely--that I try extra, extra hard to support the president now that the people have spoken. So, that's what I'm going to do for as long as I possibly can, starting right (time me on this)… Now!

So, how about them Red Sox? Near as I can tell they're doing OK with Bush as president….

We have great veterans in this country don't we? And with Bush as our leader four more years, we might think of new and creative ways of putting their talents and experience to work. (How am I doing so far?)

The weather's been, um, unusual this year, hasn't it? Not that it contradicts Bush's misleading statements about global warming. Did I say misleading? What I meant was balanced. Yeah, sober, thoughtful, balanced…

Wow, what about that Space Ship One going up and snagging that $10 million prize? Won't be long until ordinary folks can ride into space, Bush willing.

And the invasion of Fallujah… (Hmmm, best not to go there.)

So, how about ole John Ashcroft resigning? I whole-heartedly support the president for accepting that resignation. Nice move, there, Dubya. (Are you timing this?)

And the choice of Alberto Gonzales to be the new attorney-general, chief law enforcement officer of the whole United States….

Wait a minute. Time out. Time out. I'm sorry but I can't support that! That'd be like supporting prisoner abuse, torture and doing away with the Geneva Accords.

The problem with supporting this president is that he's always committing some despicable act while pretending he's doing something noble. The only way I can support him is to close my eyes, silently rewrite history, then try to believe all the double-talk that's entering my ears.

It reminds me of that old Marx Brothers line, “So who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

Let's face it, Gonzales is one of the last people you'd want overseeing law-enforcement. I know it's sweet that minorities have a place in Washington and all that, and Congress will likely cut Gonzales some slack on that score alone, but let's get real here.

Gonzales is the former partner in a Houston law firm that represented the scandal-ridden energy giant Enron, according to the Associated Press. Shouldn't our top cop have better credentials than that? OK, I could overlook even that if it didn't get so much worse.

But Gonzales has publicly defended Bush's policy of detaining certain “terrorism suspects” for extended periods without access to lawyers or courts, something even this conservative Supreme Court has criticized.

And didn't Gonzales write that controversial memo for Bush in February 2002, in which he claimed the right to waive anti-torture guidelines established in the Geneva Accords? Some people believe that position set the atmosphere for the lawless prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib. Does Bush really want to re-open that whole can of worms, or are we in full-blown Orwellian mode now, pretending such things never happened?

I mean, shouldn't our top cop be in agreement with the Geneva Accords, at a minimum, or am I being “naïve” to suggest torture is un-American? I'd be curious to know Gonzales' opinion about the right to remain silent.

Don't get me wrong; the man deserves a hearing. Maybe in some secret chamber of the Senate basement, far from public view, following 20 or 30 hours without any sleep. Naked. In the presence of dogs and electrodes and other naked men and loud discordant music.

Then maybe we could get to the bottom of his attitudes toward torture. Heck we might even learn a thing or two about the Bush family connection to Enron. Or the Saudis. Or Halliburton. Or Valerie Plame. I'd be curious to know his opinion of Cat Stevens.

Sorry to get off the subject of supporting the president. I promise to take another run at it.


Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist for The Knoxville News-Sentinel, as well as a freelance journalist, short story writer and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. His many writing awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award and the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize. He is finishing a novel, ORACLE OF THE ORCHID LOUNGE, set in his native Tennessee. His book of selected journalism, Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best Writings About People by Don Williams, is now available for ordering. For more information, you may email him at Or visit the NMW website at