On Monday I thought I had completed one of my last official duties as Designated Bush Watcher, a public service I have provided the last eight years for friends and family who were constitutionally incapable of watching or listening to George Bush. I watched his last press conference. You’re welcome.
At the press conference, George was as giddy as any middle schooler about to be sprung for the summer, ignoring the fact that he had failed his grade but prepared to blame it on the teacher. He snarkily thanked the press. He coolly ignored Helen Thomas. He petulantly pounded the podium. He did imitations of a pathetic person, made jokes. He joshed with glum reporters. They asked questions about the Mideast, the economy, the future of the Republican Party. No follow-up questions, please. There were not enough shoes at all the Payless Shoe Stores worldwide to throw. He is clueless, guiltless and defiant until the end.
But it wasn’t the end. Moments after his exit, Bush’s press office announced that he would give a farewell address to the nation tonight. Make it stop! I think I will have a sweater soaking or I might be cleaning my perm rods that night and be unable to watch. Don’t make me. You do it. You can still catch Celebrity Rehab and Kitchen Nightmares. The schaden is off my freude.
With the Inauguration of Barack Obama, help may be near, but remedy is far. Church and state are one. Democracy is capitalism. War is peace. Memory is shredder. Our national adrenal glands are beyond fatigued from the shock of the Bush Doctrine.
I will speak for myself. After eight years of Bushwatching my habit of mind is to wait for the other shoe to be dropped, not thrown; to expect any good bit of news to be followed by a firestorm of animosity; to expect that an arm reached across the aisle will be bitten off up to the elbow; to greet every new program with acid skepticism; to suspect that beneath the veneer of altruism is rank greed; to suspect under every christian overture an unchristian motive. And to have my suspicions confirmed.
This toxic thinking permeates the most ordinary of quotidian exchanges. My girlfriend is just saying she likes my hair. The plumber will never come when he said he would. He will overcharge. What was that singer thinking of when she wore that outfit? Yeah right my donation is going directly to running programs. I’m listening to what you say, but I’m making up what you mean. I don’t trust my GPS. And on and exhausting on.
In addition to resolving in the new year to do everything I can to help get Dick Cheney before an International War Crimes Tribunal and convicted of torture - I want him to spend time making amends in jail, not fly-fishing in Wyoming – I am resolved to unsubscribe from bilious bush think and give peace and my old optimism a chance. Wish me luck.