by Gilles d'Aymery
(Swans - January 12, 2009) Being a Naderite, I had no bone in the fight between Al Gore and George Bush in 2000. To me it made no difference, both being flag-bearers of the Establishment. Some will obviously take strong exception to my stance, but since Mr. Gore, before having invented the Internet (just kidding) and becoming the free-market-based savior of the environment, was not chosen by the Establishment, we shall never know what would have been his record in office. So, it's all-irrelevant and water under the bridge. On the other hand, Mr. Bush's decisions after 9/11 did scare me shitless for a while. Time passed, however. The FBI did not knock on my door. I kept hacking away on Swans, totally unhindered, but for the usual idiots -- and was wholly ignored. Being a French immigrant, non-national, and highly critical of, and repulsed by the American consumerist and materialistic culture, I fearfully expected the worst. Nothing happened, but for an unfriendly encounter with local constables in whatever shit city called Santa Rosa. I was left to my hills, undisturbed (except by my Christian fundamentalist neighbor). Then, with more time passing, I sensed a change in attitude. I actually grew fond of W., his malapropisms, his trying to do good in simplistic ways as he kept fucking everything he touched with a one-inch or ten-foot pole. I felt he was a fair representative of the American greater culture in which illiteracy or semi-literacy reigns. He truly was personifying America through his reading-less daily routine, his sense of gawd-given righteousness, and his credence that he could remake the world in the image of America. In turn, he became an endearing buffoon, with his swaggering walk and appealing smile. He represented the mediocrity that, being so alluring, brought me to these shores in the first place. Being of mediocre intellectual stock, I could not be living anywhere else but in America and enjoy the company of mediocrity. George W. Bush was me, and I was he (metaphorically speaking).
"Poor George, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth," once quipped the late Governor of Texas, Ann Richards. She was correct, but Jr. was also born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Is it not what the country has faced for eons? Let's not go back to the mythical Founding Fathers -- just stick to recent events and history. History, you will have noticed, is a social science that's dismissed by W., since he said that in the future he will be dead -- another proper characteristic of this great American president -- after me the deluge, or, as the financial gurus like to call it, the IBG ("I'll Be Gone") syndrome. Whether silver foot or spoon it is, all around the land, from city, county, state, and federal apparatus, fleecers keep fleecing the rest of us. Ironically, in America, from the smallest players to the biggest, everybody dreams to be Bernie Madoff (or president) -- without getting caught, of course. W. did not get caught thanks to his expertise in shoe-ducking and his mastery of fuck-ups.
Poor George, indeed. How could anybody be so ungrateful to him? He brought us what we all wanted: Free credit up to the heavens, plastic turned into gold, Reaganism back big time through the boat-lifting fable, and above all, our ability to kick asses all over the world through the "best military" in the world.
No one counted the beans, however -- certainly not the fierce Democratic Party, which ardently did not oppose much of Mr. Bush's initiatives. We are all Americans after all, aren't we?
And so it went. George W. launched a war against Afghanistan on a plan that had been set up by the Clinton administration. The Democrats clapped. He took the Patriot Act off the Clinton shelves and made it law. The Democrats clapped. He then moved on to Iraq with the clapping of the Democrats. Reaganian tax cuts to the wealthy were also welcomed by the Democrats. Actually, but for the privatization of Social Security, which was opposed by his own Republican party, there is not one action or decision that the Democrats did not cheer, all in direct continuation of policies implemented from President Carter onward -- 35 years of you-can-have-it-all shibboleths. Americans kept cheering, filling their garages with made-in-China...Japan...Europe...goodies as they felt on top of the world -- the "indispensable nation."
Puppet-masters in the old theater of the absurd always kept a special role for the head of the laughable company. He -- it always was a "he" -- had the first and last words of the comedy.
As a comedian and a gadfly (and a human), I have enjoyed the superior technique of W. He's beaten all expectations.
Surely, Barack Obama will want to improve on the scoreboard. The NFL would expect no less.
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