Monday, February 06, 2006


President Bush has a real knack for making dark, deadly actions seem like down-home, rootsy, grandpa-on-the-porch-rocking-chair spinning homespun yarns. When the president says "I view this (action in Iraq) as war," he makes it sound like he's talking to a 3 year old with his singsong, life's-lots-of-fun vocalizations. And when he says "the hardest part of this job is knowing that it was my decision that caused some kid to lose his life." And "the hardest part of the job is to comfort some mom whose lost a kid," his voice isn't tinged with remorse. It sounds like he's giving the
Somehow the president makes death, destruction, slaughter and bloody murder sound like a summer evening song by the campfire.
I guess all presidents have a certain quality (other than intellectual myopia) that attracts the big money guys who put them in office in the first place. Like Roosevelt, President Bush has a knack for making the most dire situation sound as though it's well in hand. In short, he comforts the fearful. That's his big asset and he's used it very well. Of course, in order to utilize his talent an atmosphere conducive to fear must be cultivated and nurtured. Seeing a pattern here?
Presidents (other than the few who've gained office by succession) must have a seule qualité that makes them stand out.
In this electronic age, war has become a game for most Americans who, of course, have never been exposed to gunfire directed toward them. We're raising a generation of kids who're numb to the horror of warfare and bloody death. I'm not saying it's really much different from our father's or grandfather's generational view of war; as Americans we've always romanticized war and violence, so long as it's performed for a "good" cause. Now, Christians confuse me because, if I recall my Bible correctly, there's a tenet in that "great" book that says "Thou shalt not kill." And far as I've been able to discern, Jesus never equivocated about killing. He never found a justification for it. In fact, Jesus had a turn-the-other-cheek belief that was part of his radical attraction. But Christians (many if not most) seem able to find justifications for killing enemies anytime it suits their agenda. Is that really the truth of Christianity? When the Syrians went berserk and burned out the Danish Embassy were they justified because a cartoon had depicted their spiritual leader with a bomb for a turban? Seems to me that Christians do much the same thing every time they vilify someone who criticized them or someone they revere.
I don't know. Seems to me that some people live in reality and some live in the twilight zone, so to speak.
Wish I could change the world but I cannot. Hell, I can't even change myself without great effort. So I leave it to God (or whatever divine power that rules universal law) to sort out the mess we humans have made of this world, our nations and our peoples.
Shifting gears, however, creativity seems to me to be a real alternative to living life outside the whirlpool of political/social conflict some measure of dignity and hope. Perhaps that's why so many enjoy movies, plays, music and other forms of vicarious experience. I find deep satisfaction and meaning in a simple poem by Whitman or a scene such as the opening sequence to the film "Ice Age."
We laugh, we cry, we cringe and grow inflamed at things outside our personal experience. It seems real because our blood pressure goes up, our faces turn red and we chuckle nervously or scowl without thinking, and it makes perfect sense in this wild, screwed up world of human perception.


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