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03/24/2006 Archived Entry: "Me and politicians with fuzzy heads"

MUSINGS ON POLITICIANS AND ME HAVING COTTON WOOL FOR BRAINS. I seldom ever get sick, so I was quite affronted to come down with a cold last week. It was mild at first, but by Monday it had turned into a little monster of sneezing, coughing, and blowing. Damn thing got worse and worse. By yesterday it had me so flattened that an afternoon of playing Freecell was an intellectual challenge. (Trying to write a Hardyville I felt like a second grader tackling Hamlet.)

I'm feeling perversely sorry for myself because nobody's around to fuss over me -- even though I hate being fussed over when I'm sick. And I'm feeling perversely special to have such a lousy bad cold. I imagine little scenarios in which I become the first person in all human history to sneeze to death. (Okay, don't tell me; somebody's already done it. I think I read it in Guinness once. So now I feel sorry for myself because there's no glory in being the second, or the twenty-third, to collapse dramatically and tragically in a fatal fit of sneezing.)

Well, that whine out of the way, Aaron and I got some good news this week. RebelFire made it into the finals of the Prometheus Awards. We're one of six, with the winner to be announced in August.

My bets are on The Black Arrow as the eventual winner. And if not that, the Ken MacLeod novel. (I haven't read it, but Prometheans like MacLeod.) It'll shock my socks off if RebelFire wins. But I'm pleased and honored to get this far.

Having a head full of cotton wool (and by now, probably used Kleenex, too) has led me to muse upon this country's current political dynasty. Their brains seem to have a lot in common with mine in its current state. But for the Bushes its permanent; scary thought. What on earth have they got that enabled them to beat out the Kennedys? They've managed to put two mumbling mediocrities in the White House, something the daredevil Irish crew never managed (and pray God never will).

Is it simply that no one considered them worth killing? Or that they've so-far refrained from driving off any bridges in the company of inconvenient young women? What do they have going for them, after all, besides money and ambition?

Intellect? Talent? Leadership ability? "The vision thing," as Bush senior might have put it? Surely you jest. They have nothing for which any voter would ever have elected them -- other than being on the spot when the Other Party fielded an even worse candidate. THREE &^%$#ing times, can you imagine it! And how did they get to be on that spot in the first place, when they have so much of nothing?

The Bushes are the biggest collections of nothing in human flesh outside the Snopes family. Or Ann Coulter (who, come to think of it, can hardly be said to be in human flesh in her current anorexic state).

A couple of weeks ago I re-watched Oliver Stone's JFK, a terrific movie even if it is two hours longer than any sensible film should be. In it, there are brief clips of both JFK and Eisenhower speaking. Eisenhower, when he was in office, was considered pretty much a lightweight -- more of a golfer than a president. Yet there he was onscreen, a clear, articulate, statesmanlike speaker.

Every time the current stunted, blighted shrub speaks I wonder if he's a real person or a poorly designed robot with a broken voice chip endlessly looping the same phrases. "Freedom and uh democracy ... democracy and er freedom ... laying the um foundations for um uh peace, freedom, and er dem, dem ... democracy ..." It's as if he's got a total vocabulary of about seven words. Not counting "nukyular," which simply isn't a word, no matter how many presidential decrees attempt to make it one.

Every day, I hear him on NPR. And every day, it seems to be the same clip, played over and over again. It's got to be the same clip, because surely if he actually kept saying those same seven words repeatedly, he'd eventually learn to say them articulately, wouldn't he? Even if speaking only by rote, without any understanding of the words (and it's pretty clear that he doesn't understand them), he'd learn to say them proficiently.

I mean, after all, a mynah bird can. Even LBJ and Richard Nixon could speak like human beings. And did, even if its doubtful they were actually members of the species.

I know, I know. A large vocabulary and an ability to speak lucidly don't guarantee character or talent or anything else. But crikey, you'd think that the simple ability to put one sentence in front of another would be a basic requirement for graduating from grade school, let alone holding the job of Grand Poobah of the World's One-and-Only And We'll Kick Your Butt if You Don't Believe It Superpower.

Once upon a time, not long ago, a family with political ambitions would have known that clear speaking was a basic requirement for gaining credibility. They would have made sure that political sons took public-speaking courses and participated in school debates to prepare themselves. But the Bushes have so little respect for the electorate (and the country) that they don't even bother trying to hide their fundamental thuggery. Statesmen have to speak clearly. For plunderers and warlords of a decadent empire it's simply not a job requirement.

The self-righteous, warmongering Shrub is a scary, scary boy, without a doubt. He reminds me of the kind of proselytizing religionist who can barely spell G-o-d, but who's dead-solid sure he's got a guaranteed ticket on the Glory Train while you're soon (and deservedly) going to plunge into the torments of hell. And by golly, one day he's gonna sit up there on his golden cloud, hangin' with Jesus and enjoying the heck out of looking down and watching you burn. But until that day comes, his pal, the Glorious Gawd Awmighty, wants him to have every worldly perk, privilege, and power he can snatch. And if others suffer while he prospers, well that's a sure sign of Gawd's intention, isn't it?

Yeah. Shrub is scary. But what's scarier is living in a country that takes such creatures seriously.

Posted by Claire @ 11:42 AM CST

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