Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Politics, Cajun-Style!

Years ago, in lieu of making another boring “Top 10 Albums Released This Year” list, I made a list of jokes or pop culture references that needed to be retired. Off the top of my head, I can remember the big ones being:

1. “smoking crack” – Responding to anything you think is wacky, far out or illogical as “Are you smoking crack?”
2. Saying “remix” when a CD skips
3. Any and all Austin Powers references but specifically “Yeah, baby!”
4. “I’m Rick James”
5. Any jokes about mullets
6. Izzle, for shizzle, up in the hizzouse, hizzy or any other Snoop-based speech patterns

I think there were many others but those are just the ones that really stuck with me. Well, there is a new rule which I must insist upon instituting nationwide effective immediately. The need for this rule became obvious during the election last year and flared up again because of the inauguration yesterday. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, CUT THE SHIT WITH PUNS WHEN TRYING TO DEBATE POLITICS. This is a bi-partisan effort on my part. Partly because my hatred of puns runs deep but I’m also doing this for the benefit of those of you that use puns in political debates. You cheapen your argument when you turn it into your audition tape to be the Middle Square.

So please stop using any of the following words or phrases immediately. You will thank yourself (and me) later.

Obama bin Laden
“Welcome to socialism”
“War Criminals”

I get it. People who don’t like Obama believe that he won the office of the Presidency on an empty message of “change” or “hope” and that all the people who admire him do so out of blind allegiance to a charismatic leader without knowing any of his (in their eyes) potentially disastrous ideas which (again, in their eyes) border on out and out socialism. People who don’t like Bush (or McCain) think that Bush and Cheney and Karl Rove and Rumsfeld should be charged with war crimes and brought to trial, Nuremburg style.

The truth is that I, and most people that I know, supported Obama and are very politically aware and well-read. I have no problem admitting that I like seeing Obama doing some smooth little moves to Stevie Wonder at the inauguration. That doesn’t mean that just because he’s black/young/left-leaning/a decent dancer, I supported him. Don’t insult my intelligence like that.

In the same vein, the lefties need to give up the war crimes rallying cry. Do I think that the Bush Administration led the country into an unjustified war in Iraq? Yes. Do I generally not like Bush, Rummy, Cheney et al? Yes. But your war crimes trial is never gonna happen. Not to be defeatist but centuries of American history are riddled with wars which were either begun under less-than-honest pretenses, propagated for financial or political gain or later realized to have been counterproductive or avoidable. It would be great if there was no war or if every war was World War II and there was a clear attack (don’t try to claim 9/11 as one because Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11) from an enemy who are kind and thoughtful enough to put their country of origin’s flag on the side of the planes dropping the bombs. It would be great if every war America entered ended in the liberation of millions of victims of deadly persecution from the death camps to which they had been forcefully relocated. I’m no big fan of war to begin with. Mostly because wars like Iraq only fan the flames of the insurgents who do things like crash jetliners into office buildings. But cut it out with the incessant calls for a war crimes trial. It’s not happening. As much as your lefty heart (and remember, I’m one of your own here) would be warmed to see key members of the Bush administration forced to answer tough questions for the first time, you’re never going to get your justice. You’ll never see the CEOs of ExxonMobil sweeping trash in the park as part of their community service. You’ll never see the higher ups from Blackwater forced into a naked pyramid while we all get to point at their genitals and laugh. Let’s look forward and not be vengeful but instead be hopeful. If you remember, vengeance is quite possibly one of the motivations that lead us into Iraq in the first place.

I found one part of the endless inauguration coverage incredibly interesting last night. Multiple commentators pointed out that before the swearing in, Obama and Bush (with their respective spouses) met, as tradition calls for, at the White House for a little handshaking and picture taking. But those same commentators all pointed out that there was actually a somewhat warm and friendly relationship between W and Obama. Blasphemy! How dare they! I think there’s probably more than a little truth to that statement. And here’s the reason why: I don’t think Bush is a maniacal, evil overlord. In fact, I think that a lot the awful things that happened on his watch happened because he is much the opposite. I have despised his anti-intellectualism (masqueraded as “aww shucks, don’t you wanna just have a beer with me” everyman-ism) dating back to his tenure as Governor. But if you really look at his life, his scholastic record, his career before politics, you see that he’s just a less-than-brilliant good ol’ boy who relies heavily on people with power or persuasive ideas to dictate to him. I think you’re giving too much credit to him as a thinker and strategist if you say that he orchestrated 9/11, created fake intelligence on Iraq to justify invasion or purposely eroded corporate accountability which lead us into this economic turdfest. What he did was the same thing he has done his entire life which is surround himself with people who pat him on the head and tell him he’s doing a “heckuva job” while they use his office and name to further their own twisted agendas. The oil companies hired him and gave him a desk and his own phone so when they came to him years later during his presidency to lobby for drilling and offshore pipelines and no government intervention in skyrocketing oil prices, he was going to say yes. They were his friends and they let him work for them even when he wasn’t very good at his job. You can run down the list from defense contractors to political strategists to his dad’s old cronies looking for jobs and a chance to make their mark (albeit, ugly dark ones) in history. Bush let himself believe his own hype that he was going to “smoke them out of their holes” and “defeat terror” and “find those people that knocked down those towers.” Here’s a hint on that one….they didn’t have parachutes so your best bet is to start in the wreckage and rubble where the impact happened.

My mom used to play this game with me in the car when I was little where she claimed she had the power to change traffic lights all by herself. She would say the phrase “Abracadabra, alacazam change this light to green…..right…………………….now!” and the light would always change. I thought my mom was the most powerful sorceress this side of Stevie Nicks. It wasn’t until years later that I realized she would watch the lights on the opposite intersections to time her spell just right. It was a good trick and ensured that I did not cross my mom for fear she would use her magic powers to change my toys into math books as punishment. Someone told Bush he could change the traffic lights and he believed it. And I think he honestly, despite coming back to the isolated bubble of Preston Hollow, realizes that he couldn’t change the traffic lights and everyone knows. I think that for 8 years, he was surrounded by people telling him that he was doing a great job, his party loved him, the country saw him as a brave leader in the face of terrorist attacks and that the enemy feared him. And he wasn’t smart enough to critically and analytically dissect that and discover that they were blowing smoke up his ass. Then came the 2008 election. It wasn’t the fact that Obama won, it was the fact that his own party, who he believed revered him as a great and courageous leader, did everything they possibly could to vilify and distance themselves from him. To hear the Republican nominee run screaming from any comparisons or links to him in an effort to win the election must have been a blow to him. Why would they throw him under the bus when he was a great liberator, he had Accomplished the Mission? I think the harshest lesson in politics that Bush learned happened to come in the last few months of his 8 years as President when he realized that he was a gullible puppet whose name and position were used by so many people and so many corporate interests, only to be tossed back to him torn, stained and smelly once they got what they wanted from him.

I can’t sympathize with him too much because while I hold on to my effin’ hat for the foreseeable future in a valiant attempt to keep the lights on and food in my belly, he will spend his waning years cutting branches or taking the dog for a walk in his millionaire-infested neighborhood. He might be the victim of occasional booing or shoe throwing but generally, he will live the life of an Alzheimer’s patient at the nursing home’s monthly USO dance night. But I think that somewhere deep in the tingling and twitching grey matter of his head, sandwiched between cornbread recipes and new nickname ideas for his buddies, there is a kernel of sadness which reminds him that all those people he listened to and trusted lead him down the primrose path to being history’s #1 front runner for Worst President Ever. And he didn’t even realize it.


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Daniel said...

I could expand your list by about fivefold -- twentyfold if we include corporate lingo -- but I myself plead guilty to the occasional mullet joke. Worse yet, I made a pitbull/lipstick joke only a couple of weeks ago, longer past its sell-by date than the joke had been current in the first place. I briefly contemplated suicide (it would have been the honorable thing to do), but bravely chose brisket tacos instead.

As for W, to trot out the oft-quote Molly Ivins line, He was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.