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I Am A Traitor-George Bush and the treacherous country [View All]

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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-14-04 02:09 AM
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I Am A Traitor-George Bush and the treacherous country
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I Am A Traitor
STEVE ERICKSON on George Bush and the treacherous country.

I am a traitor. Im not sure exactly when I first knew it. Of course for a long time I resisted it; I had always thought of myself as a patriot. But sometime over the last 15 years I came to sense it, and certainly I understood it by the afternoon last October when the president officially launched his re-election campaign. That was the day he gave two speeches in New Hampshire on behalf of a war he thought he had won five months earlier; over the next 24 hours, Iraqi guerrillas in Baghdad killed three American soldiers and wounded four, assassinated a Spanish diplomat in the street, and drove a car into a police station, blowing up eight people. This moment wasnt just the hinge of George W. Bushs presidency, with the gales of the past and future blowing it open and shut. It wasnt just the moment that his presidency became the hinge of modern American history. It was the hinge of my very Americanism, between patriotism and treachery.

Some are loath to bestow upon this president any sort of momentousness. Whatever he does or however dire the moment, some cant bring themselves to believe George Bush deserves such import, given what they regard as the flukishness of his election or what they perceive to be the limits of his capabilities. Among the erudite, ridicule attends his every mispronunciation of this word, his every mangling of that sentence mistakes that only endear him to a nation of word mispronouncers and sentence manglers. Among those who fret about the unfairness of life, theres fury at the fortunate son who inherited his power from his presidential father and the Supreme Court, as though Al Gore would have been any less an inheritor from his own senatorial father and the president who made him vice president (none of which is to even mention what Hillary Clinton has inherited, or may inherit still).

To snicker at Bushs luck and stupidity not only confirms Bushs gleeful assertions that hes underestimated, but misreads everything about both the moment and the man. The fortunate son has more natural political skill than his father ever did, and as he proved in his interview on Meet the Press this past weekend, the president is as able to absorb and command the facts of something as anyone else. As was also clear in the same interview, and given the ways in which his reasons for the Iraq invasion have changed from those that he presented to the country a year ago, whats important about George Bushs intelligence isnt its magnitude but its nature. This is to say its a perfectly adequate intellect that chooses what it prefers to know, what it prefers to think, what it prefers to believe. Which is to say that the nature of Bushs intelligence hasnt anything to do with intelligence at all. Rather it has to do with heres a word we havent heard in a while character.

Bushs presidency may be more fraught with significance than any since Franklin Roosevelts. If you believe in any sort of fate, if you believe things happen according to any sort of Scheme, there was nothing flukish about Bushs election; to the contrary, there was no way he could not have become president when he did. Gore may have had a better rsum, but manifestly Bush was better suited to the dark poetry of 2000. George W. Bush is the Millennial President, and not simply according to the arithmetic of calendars. Hes the president of all the millenniums metaphors, a commander in chief for the End Days, collecting RSVPs for the Rapture.

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