Monday, January 08, 2007

Back to Work

You will have noticed that I have been unusually silent this weekend, Bush. That's because I foreswore use of the computer until today--except to catch up with any email. Two reasons. First, it was Ellie's birthday yesterday. We celebrated with our usual Sunday morning meditation at our sangha--our sitting group--and then a long walk along the beach at Crystal Cove, a short way north from here, where the beach stretches for miles in each direction, and where there is a newly-opened restaurant where we had hoped to have a late breakfast. Alas, it was so crowded, and the wait so long, we had to settle for a late lunch instead, with that long walk along the beach filling the time gap. Anyway, it all worked out for the best, and we were back at home by mid-afternoon, with time to read the Sunday papers while it was still warm and sunny on the balcony.

The second reason for my abstinence is less pleasing: I had a day in computer hell on Friday, and simply couldn't face the prospect of looking at another keyboard or monitor. It was one of those days, Bush--and I imagine that you have a number of them, these days--when everything that could possibly go wrong does just that. It got to the point where it was simply laughable: at one point, I heard a clatter outside my office door and found that a large sheet of plexiglass had descended from apparently nowhere and shattered on the concrete steps. The telephone rang, and nothing happened when I picked it up. I completed a small voice-over job for Artscene magazine on my computer--an advertizing spot, no more than a minute--which should have been a simple job to email out; instead, it took three hours of frustration before I gave up, burning a CD instead to put in the US mail.

Everything, then. One of those days. As I said, I imagine you must have experienced many of them recently. Those pesky Democrats taking power from your Republicans in Congress... And the war! Iraq! One disaster after another. Last week, of course, it was not only the constant sectarian slaughter and the bombings, it was the brutal mishandling of Saddam's execution and the attendant worldwide revulsion: a reflection, necessarily, on your policies. That Maliki! Not to be trusted, Bush. And what an irony, that the most powerful Shiite leader seems to be no longer the (in retrospect) rather mild-mannered Sistani, but the wild and youthful Moktada al-Sadr, no respecter of the American presence in his country, nor of the democracy you still seem to want to establish there, against all odds.

Don't we have enough proof now, Bush, finally, that your concept of a peaceful democracy is simply not taking root in that unhappy region? Do we really need to send in more American troops in the stubborn attempt to force them to accept it? Have we not learned any lessons from the very recent--and the not quite so recent--past? Will it take yet more death and destruction to persuade you that your venture there is futile? My last hope, Bush, is that the Almighty Himself will get word to you before that speech on Wednesday. Or is He, like the rest of your compliant advisors, already persuaded of the rightness of your ways?

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