Friday, January 16, 2009

The Last Chapter

Oh, Bush! What a truly abject performance last night, in your farewell address. It was a little like this (with apologies to Jack Horner):

Little George Bushy sat on his tuschy
Eating his Humble Pie;
He put in both thumbs
And pulled out a few plums
And said, What a good boy am I!


There you were, Bush, a little person on the big screen with your little coy, little self-satisfied, little snarky smile, in a rosy world of your own imagination. Who would have thought, listening to you, that you had brought us a needless war that cost tens, no, hundreds of thousands of lives; an American city still devastated by nature and your subsequent callous neglect; an economy in freefall with millions of your fellow-countrypeople losing their nest-eggs or their jobs; a world that looks askance at the country you were never fit to govern? No, Bush, your words put a new complexion on those hackneyed rose-tinted glasses. They added a whole new level of meaning to the ability to keep looking on the bright side. So much for good intentions!

Here's the question, Bush, to which we really need to know the answer: do you really know the truth? Have you simply decided to disguise it in the best way possible? Or is there something in your mind that prevents you from seeing it? Do you actually believe yourself what you're trying to persuade the rest of us to believe?

I have honestly not been able to answer this question (it's really only one.) Perhaps it doesn't matter. I look at you, Bush, and I see a sad little boy trying hard to stay afloat in waters that are much too deep and dangerous for him. I have always seen you that way. A little boy, never quite fully adjusted to the real world and clinging to a few Big Ideas as though to a life raft. It's a sad reflection on our culture and the state of our education that we allowed you to get this far out of your depth. It's the ultimate manifestation of the syndrome that unfortunately bears my name: the Peter Principle, which holds that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence." How true, Bush. How true.

One of the big questions now, for your successor, is whether to investigate your incompetence and your inexcusable exploitation of power for political gain; and, if necessary, to prosecute your crimes, and those committed in your name. I have tended to side reluctantly with those who say that there are more important, desperately pressing issues--issues that will prove all the harder to solve without bipartisan support. However--no doubt you read this piece in this morning's New York Times, Bush? Or maybe not-- Paul Krugman's column, "Forgive and Forget?", was most persuasive. He argues a good case, indeed.

No matter, the time has come to say farewell. You will become, as you say, an "American citizen" again and the worst harm you'll be able to wreak upon the country, we hope, will be in the voting booth. There have been times, as well you know, that I have been angry with you, Bush. And the truth is that I still hold a lot anger for the things you have done, and am unable to come to terms with this anger unless you, in turn, are able to acknowledge and accept responsibility for them. And believe me, Bush, I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, all I can feel for you at this point is pity--and even pity is a stretch.

So, farewell, Bush. Our daily intercourse concludes with this last entry. I wish you... well, I wish you enlightenment and, with it, in the spirit of the Buddhist teachings I have come to embrace, eventual release from whatever suffering you feel.

2 comments:

France Whtie said...

I wondered how this faithful critique would end, now that there is actually one day - and I guess really a day and a half - that we will be burdened with this "aren't I cute" littly boy joking his way through the presidency. His has been a disgraceful time, a wasteful time, a truly sad time for our country. Thank you, Peter, for speaking the truth about this fool.
France in Pasadena

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