Eye On The Ball

Ore : 2:02 AM

Just so you know. Just so we all maintain the requisite awareness:

From January 2001 to September 2001, we all knew he was a joke. Yeah, he got his honeymoon with the corporate media, but we all new he was a goofy, faux-amiable, dim scion of power -- a Mayberry ding-a-ling not to be taken seriously.

Yet (and I include myself in this), we didn't worry about it. America was enjoying unprecedented prosperity and security. Surely, even with this ninny "in charge" (even then, the more cynical among us knew it was Cheney anyway), the federal government would take care of itself -- it was run by professionals!

But then it happened. And instead of immediately getting serious, calling him to the carpet, and then chucking him in favor of someone, you know, competent, we looked to him. We rallied around him. We figured, "How bad can he be? I mean, he achieved the presidency, so he must at least be passably capable."

Of course, we were wrong.

Instead of dealing with it as an adult among adults, he dealt with it as a power-hungry hall monitor among fifth-graders. He decided fear would be to him what the Fat Boy was to Truman -- and he would get even more mileage out of it than Mr. Plain Speaking did out of his atom-splitting.

But you know, fear really wasn't a starter for me. I mean, I'm quite cognizant of the emotions I endured that day: shock, sadness, horror. Fear, however, was pointedly not among them -- certainly not the fear I recalled was the fixture of my childhood. I mean, we all know the movies produced by the 80s, the speeches Reagan made; we all knew that at any given moment, we were minutes away from absolute nuclear annihilation. That was fear: knowing as a child that there was nowhere you could run to, no one who could protect you.

Yet to this day, I am constantly admonished by the dim hall monitor's sycophants for not exhibiting the proper terror: "Have you forgotten? Do you even know WHAT THEY DID TO US ON 9/11???" I am constantly taken to task for not wetting my bed, for not looking under every turban for a crescent, for not screaming every time I pass a halal deli. "What, did your country just crumble for you when they killed those 3,000 people?"

No. My country did not crumble when jet planes flew into the Twin Towers. Nor did it crumble when the Towers did.

But when Ari Fleischer took the podium in front of the Washington press corps, and addressed, via cable and satellite, millions upon millions of Americans, and bade them that, "People had better watch what they say" -- that, my friends, was when my country crumbled. That's when it became clear that Something Was Irrevocably Wrong.

Just so you know.

Forget waving your plastic stars & stripes (made in China), forget tearful bald eagles .gifs, forget yellow ribbon magnets on tailgates, and for once in your godforsaken life, would you please, please, remember Tom Fucking Paine. Thank you.

Just so we're all fucking clear, yo.

posted by teh l4m3 at 2:02 AM | Permalink |

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Comments for Eye On The Ball
One of your best posts ever.

These are the times that try men's souls...

Very well said.

Sarah Vowell was on the Daily Show recently, and she pretty much summed up my attitude. When Bush came to power, she was worried that he'd do terrible things like mess up the drinking water. Now, she says, she looks back on her initial attitude and is saddened that not even her wildest pessimistic imagination could foresee all the horrible shit he'd do.

"But we have to fight for free-dim."

"Yer either with us, or yer with the tear-wrists."


What happens if:

a) it's Jeb Bush 2008
b) there's a constitutional amendment and dubya gets a 3rd term
c) there's a constitutional amendment and it's Ah-nold 2008


Yeah, good post. I remember thinking,like on 9/11 itself when it became clear that no more planes were hijacked, that well, the only good thing is that whoever did it totally blew their wad on this one. Fear of successive waves of similar or worse attacks was not part of that for me, but as you say, "shock, sadness, horror" at the actual event.

My own fear of Bush, however, began with that first address to the joint session following 9/11. I can't recall the exact words he spoke, but there was some dangerous glint in his eye, some disturbing meanness in his voice, some previously missing confidence in his demeanor that made me think, fuck, this is going to get really, really ugly for a really, really long time. The positive reactions of those around me to that speech, and more pointedly, to Bush, only confirmed that fear for me.

In the ensuing days, it all built up into a crescendo of insane vengeance-mongering. Things like Barbara Lee being the only dissenting vote on the Use of Force Resolution, the "Let's Roll" bandwagon and Toby Keith, the sudden openness of overt violent racism on the blogs and elsewhere, patriotporn on full display at any and all public events, the Kremlinesque absurdity of the Rumsfeld and Fleischer press conferences, Cheney's secret bunkers ... each was another brick in the road to torture, disappearances and naked aggression on the world stage.

But I still want my country back, man.

Fuck, man, if it's Ah-nold in 2008 then it going to be Ah-nold versus Chuck-les. Cuz I'll go for broke and break his sorry ass.

My campaign slogan?

Don't fuck with me, you'll lose.

I was born in Austria as well. Muscles turn to flab, but genius never dies!

all along i thought you were Canadian
who knew?

What happens if:

a) it's Jeb Bush 2008
b) there's a constitutional amendment and dubya gets a 3rd term
c) there's a constitutional amendment and it's Ah-nold 2008

I don't think any of those have a chance of happening. Not even the Bushies are going to try to be as openly dynasty-driven as to run one son after another. Bush is so unpopular he wouldn't get re-elected even if they managed to repeal the 22nd A. in record time. Same with Arnold -- not enough time to pull it off, and he's unpopular anyway.

The real danger is McCain. The "culture of corruption" theme that sinks all the other Republicans in Congress actually helps him, because he has a solid rep as a reformer. (A reformer with results, even!) He can distance himself from Iraq and ride his military cred to the nomination. He's quite conservative on social issues, so he'd make it through the primary, and he seems "bipartisan" enough to have appeal in the general election too.

McCain's the one to worry about. Now.

nice post

smarty: thanks!

elmo: too true.

otto: ack, I missed that one. But I'm not surprised to find I'm pretty much of the same mind as she is.

madamerouge: aw hell no.

chuckles: you have my vote.

fatrobot: I have no country -- I am a terrorist. Do not forget this.

otto 'gain: Yes, McCain would doubtless be a mess in the oval office. And sadly, I think my dad might actually vote for him if Hillary was the alternative...

elemental: Thanks!

T3h, Lovin the post. Kudos sir.

My own fear of Bush, however, began with that first address to the joint session following 9/11. I can't recall the exact words he spoke, but there was some dangerous glint in his eye, some disturbing meanness in his voice,

That was his raging, unrepressable hardon, brought on by the fact that he knew he had something that he could use to twist the public's arm and mangle their conscience into accepting something as poorly thought out as his little revenge scheme.

McCain is and would be a disaster. However, while he's got the press on his side he's a terrible speaker and quite easily ruffled under scrutiny so I'm not quite so sure he could run a successful national campaign.

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