Saturday, November 05, 2005

Guy Fawkes Day

I hate to say this, Bush, but it looks like you're no more popular in foreign parts than you are here at home. I mean, actually, even less so. The sixty percent of Americans who disapprove of the way you're running things mostly stay at home and grumble to themselves or to their friends. Down there in Argentina, bless them, they're out in the streets, vociferating loudly. Which leads me to wonder whether private outrage and public apathy will be the undoing of those of us who disagree with you. We tend to throw up our hands and say, What can we do? And decide that we can do nothing but wait for things to change.

The list of dreadful disasters that you and your people have managed to perpetrate in lieu of good, effective government grows longer by the day. The scandal pit grows deeper, and smellier in its depths. Others, in your circumstance, Bush, would surely be making pretty damn merciless inquiries into the behavior of those who claim to serve them; would be doing some head-rolling. But you seem content to pat everyone on the head and tell them what a wonderful job they're doing, instead of holding them the least bit accountable. You seem to believe that the soporifics that your spin-masters put out will work effectively to put the sleeping spell on the American public.

And the sad thing is, I've come to believe that you're probably right. Neither I, nor any of my friends who share my views, are out there on the streets. I can't honestly kid myself that these journals that we write together are a serious way of taking action. Our readers in these pages, Bush, are self-selected, and the vast proportion of them already agree with what I write. Maybe it's time to follow the example of those hot-blooded Latins and get out there on the streets, with banners, and loudspeakers, and intemperate speeches. Would you get the message if we came to Washington and shouted it?

And the message, Bush, in case you hadn't heard it yet, is that many of us are frankly ashamed of what America has become--in the past fifty years, perhaps, but particularly, and definitively under your watch: a bully nation, preaching values to the world that we ourselves don't practice; super-protective of our super-rich, and careless of our own poor and needy; loudly proclaiming our religious righteousness while behaving in the least Christian of ways; denying of self-evident facts, and skewing the truth to suit our purposes; contemptuous of science, and obstructive of its potential to solve some of the world's most vexing problems; and self-involved to the point of narcissism.

What we want from you is not to stay the course but to change it. We want you to get rid of those in your administration who, through laziness, greed, or venality, are serving their own prejudicial attitudes rather than the interests of this country. We want you to be accountable, informed, and active in the pursuit of incompetence, and to insist that those you hire be held equally accountable. We want you to be able to recognize, and tell the truth when it stares you in the face. We want you to be able to admit mistakes, and work relentlessly to correct them. We want you to stand up to the excesses of your "base," and tell those people unambiguously when they're full of shit. We want you to honor the work of scientists, even when they bring bad news about such things as disease, the natural environment, population growth, and global warming. We want you to honor the counsel of your top military men, and question that of men who have never been to war or faced the real possibility of dismemberment or death.

We want all this, and so much more from you. And, frankly, if you can't give it to us, we want to be rid of you, Bush. We want you and your people to go away. We want another chance to redeem ourselves--both in the mirror, and in the eyes of the world.

A final note: today, if you didn't know it, is Guy Fawkes Day in England--a day that celebrates the arrest and execution of the scoundrel who was bold enough, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, if I remember right, to attempt to blow up the King and his government. So my inevitably question on this particular day is, Where is our Guy, Bush, when we need him most?

1 comment:

PK said...

Thank you.