Friday, August 05, 2005

Two Things...

…today, Bush. First off, I wonder if you caught a glimpse of this picture of your good self in yesterday’s New York Times? I have to say, it gave me a good chuckle. What a composition, Bush! I love the way the lights above create the halo for your head, like signs from heaven. I love the way you’re looking up and out, slightly to the right, as though inspired by some distant, unseen being. I love the way your mouth, with the two gleaming microphone heads, has become robotic, the way your hands reach out, as if in blessing, to either side of the podium, and the way the geometric podium replaces your torso, giving you… well, a frankly packaged look. And the way the Seal of the President of the United States takes pride of place, where your heart might have been, had it been open. I love the lettering behind you, partially obscured by your hands, that must read, on the one hand, "American," and on the other "Council"—although the latter might also have been "Courage," if not more clearly defined by the picture’s caption: "President Bush used the phrase ‘war on terror’ five times yesterday in a speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council."

It seems you wanted to correct the impression created by some folks in your administration, including your Rumsfeld and your general of the Air Force, Richard B. Myers, that your war had been downgraded to a "global struggle against violent extremism." Oh, no. "Make no mistake about it," you repeated. "We are at war." You clearly want it understood by one and all: as you reiterated frequently during your re-election campaign, you are a war president. Okay, Bush. We get it.

As for the second point, I realize after posting yesterday’s entry about Steven Vincent that there was something I had implied but not quite said: his death was the first, I think, in this war, that I took personally. I mentioned that we had in common the fact that we were both free-lancers, art writers; and that in reading his work I identified in it a quality that I myself aspire to, having to do with clarity and honesty. What I didn’t quite recognize—and it took Ellie to point it out to me—was that we had both responded in the same way to a crisis of conscience, he after watching the towers fall on 9/11, myself after your election. Like Vincent, I had the strong feeling that I needed to do something, and like him, albeit many months later, I started a weblog.

Which leads me to this simple but poignant insight: in these entries that I write daily in my blog, I am able to speak my truth with impunity. This brave man did no more than speak his truth, and it got him killed.

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