Monday, April 24, 2006

A Belated...

...welcome to California, Bush. A good Monday morning to you, and apologies for my negligence these past couple of days. I have just finished checking through the final proofs of "The Real Bush Diaries" and decided I deserved a couple of days off. I've been thinking, too, that you probably get tired of hearing this single voice in our ongoing conversation, and thought you might like to hear another. What follows is the text of an email from a friend who lives in Northern California, not far from where you landed at the end of last week--an artist of subtle intelligence and skill, whose lyrical vision never fails to sing. I have her permission to use her words, of course, but after some thought decided not to reveal her identity: I have enough experience with hostile unsolicited responses to want to assure that her privacy is respected. Anyway, Bush, she witnessed your departure from the Napa Valley, which she describes as follows:

Dear friends, near and far,

In honor of all the people on this planet who are suffering due to Bush
and "our" administration's disgraceful behavior, I walked from my house
an hour ago and stood alone in a cow pasture alongside the runway at
the tiny Angwin airport and gave the appropriate, double-handed gesture
to the two Sikorsky and two presidential USA helicopters that whisked
George away from his Friday night stay in the Napa Valley. There were
at least two sets of binoculars staring me down, but neither did they,
nor the more than 30 California Highway Patrol cars, 5 fire trucks, 12
van loads of SWAT teams, hazardous incident caravan, and indefinite but
large contingent of black-clad and undercover secret service agents
forming Bush's entourage keep me from being there to bid adieu to this
shameful President.

The moment was empowering because last night I joined probably 2000
protesters who had gathered outside the nearby resort where Bush was
staying. We waited for hours to "greet" him. It was very peaceful, but
people were fired up. All we wanted was to have a presence, maybe offer
Bush a glimpse of what the sentiment is on our particular streets. Of
course, he was finally led into the resort via the one-lane back road
from Angwin, conveniently shielded from demonstrators and signage. I
suppose this practice of avoiding the sight of any opposition has
become normal for this president, but it can do a lot to anger a crowd
who simply requests that their voice not fall on deaf ears. Yet, we
rallied, and it felt like the right thing to do. Bush missed it all.

The Sikorskys and President's helicopters are awfully intimidating
when they hover over your head. They are loud, too. But maybe, just
maybe, someone inside saw my two fists beat the air almost as fiercely
as the copters blades chopped the wind.

Within three minutes of his departure, the sun popped out of the gloomy
gray skies - whew, he's gone.

Stay active, folks - every small gesture matters.

Happy Earth Day

I think it's important that you realize, Bush, just how badly your protection from dissenting voices serves you. Here's one woman who, like Cindy Sheehan, only wanted to be heard.

Oh, and speaking of subtle lyrical vision, here's a quote I've been meaning to pass on to you for quite some time. I found it in a painting by the artist Squeak Carnwarth, which usually include her off-beat ruminations on the state of things. This one is worth a chuckle: "Freud sez", she wrote, "When you think of me, think of Rembrandt: a little light and a lot of darkness." Nicely put. It also works for most of the rest of us, Bush. No?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am moved and shaken by the story of this brave and powerfully inspired Northern California, woman friend of mine. She gestured for masses of us with her symbolic and anguished demonstration. Her story placed me exactly beside her--and-- exactly against the aircraft window where I saw our "shameful" president's face pressed hard against the glass as he watched this solitary female figure daringly take him on. I am fiercely praying that she pierced his consience and his heart-- as she did mine. Thank you, my friend.