Every Sunday I get up to watch "Meet the Press". Now, I fully understand that I don't have to "get up" anymore to watch the show, since it is both re-broadcast at various times or could be “TiVo'd” for viewing when it fits in with my schedule (after all, Vladimir Putin is coming for morning tea today and so I really should be making sure the servants are tidying things up correctly…). However, I still try to maintain some procedures which predate technological remedies, if for no reason other than to demonstrate for myself that I haven’t been forced to fully conform to the upside-down material-based time in which we now live.
During the first segment of the show, the guest is invariably a high-ranking government official or a member of Congress who also serves the country as the chairperson for this or that committee overseeing or investigating this piece of legislation or that egregious scandal. Regardless of the guest or even the subject of the interview, a reference is usually made which subordinates or justifies this or that point by couching it on something “the President wants”, or something “the President intends to do”, or something “in the President’s plan”. And why not? Ultimately, it is the President who runs the show, having been elected, fair and square as far as we know, by a respectable majority of the American people.
So from these statements it is logical to surmise that our current President, George W. Bush, has both developed and communicated specifics of his myriad plans, intentions and desires to his venerable cabinet and perhaps directly to some or all of the members of the Congress. He would have had to, otherwise the statements of his hand being behind the directives of the United States government would derive from a cluster of hardly known, appointed (rather than elected) officials. And that’s just not how things are done in our great Democracy.
I can usually brush away this notion the first time or two the statements are casually raised. Yet after a few instances, I customarily realize that my attention has all but completely drifted from the show, settling rather on a contemplation of how this might actually occur: these times that the President advises the cabinet on his agenda. After all, we are talking about a man who, by his own admission, has a “…tendency to mangle the English language…”; a man who seems to have great difficulty speaking a complete, scripted sentence without pausing a half dozen times; a man whose on the cuff remarks are more akin to an over-the-hill stand up truck-stop comedian than the leader of the free world.
“How does it really happen?”, I wonder…
January 2, 2005, the now-former Secretary of State Colin Powell was on the show. At one point, Powell stated:
“It's not my foreign policy and it's not Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney's foreign policy. It's the President's foreign policy, and he develops his foreign policy in a manner that he believes is consistent with the mandate he's been given by the American people.”
Good point. Well spoken. Now I conjure up a holographic movie of how the George W. Bush I “know” (the one that’s carefully presented to me by the White House’s crack PR staff) actually might be handling the task of coming up with a Foreign Policy:
INTERIOR: The Oval Office. 7:30am, A Saturday morning. The President is alone. A pair of desk chairs are positioned under the handles of the two doors that lead in and out of the office, so that they cannot be opened from the outside.
(slouched at the desk, one hand propping up his head while the elbow of the same arm is on the desk pointing to the far wall. He’s looking at the Rand McNally Atlas of the World which is open on the desk.)
Hmmm… let’s see now… we’re over here… and they’re over there. We want them to stay over there… while we stay over here. It’s just that simple!
Now what? Oh! I know… we’ll… shucks, I lost it (I hate when that happens!). Oh well. OK… OK… now…
(He rises up from the desk, and takes a deep breath.)
Now, I have been given a mandate from the American people and…
(slaps himself in the stomach, like he’s just had his fill of pancakes)
…boy howdy, I know just what they want! They want to be safe and happy. They want to go to work… and to school… and to the movies… without fear! They want to worship in the church of their choice… and… they-want-their-borders-100%-secure.”
(Stands up, straightens his red tie, walks over to one of the desk chairs at the door and removes it. Swaggers back to the desk and pushes a small button on the phone.)
Jeanie? It’s me… George Dub-ya. Get Colin, Rummy and Dick out here right away! Tell ‘em I got another policy to lay on ‘em. And Jeanie… call Laura and see if she’s got any of them fine biscuits left.”
My projection is jarred by a “deep water explorer” Kerr-McGee ad and an abrupt return to consciousness. Could that really be how the President comes up with his policies? While being somewhat oversimplified, I seriously think it is much closer to the truth than not. After all, the shit hits the policy fan like clockwork in this administration, and when questioned out of the blue at a speaking opportunity at a fundraiser somewhere, the President not-so-deftly defers to his lieutenants and they in turn go on shows like “Meet the Press” and fill in a whole lot of blanks in well-crafted, long-winded explanations (complete with several three- and four-syllable words) that typically define very little (even when asked twice) and are based around something we have all come not to know but to love anyway, the President’s policies.
And so it goes… politics as usual, and Sunday morning is just a few hours away.
These cliches should be banned on the Federal Level. Anyone using either of these phrases should deported:
Here's something I can't stand:
At the end of a TV ad for a movie, the entire block of credits that norally appear on a movie poster or large listing in the newspaper flashes on for less than 2 seconds. What the fuck? Either show us the credits or don't! It's disrespectful to the interested viewer as well as to the people listed in the credits.
(Of course, those of you with a DVR service or TiVo could pass right through the ads or freeze the credits if you're interested.)
I think this year really did it for me. It's been building up in me for quite a while but this year something just snapped. Like Morgan Freeman's character in Shawshank near the end when he tells the parole board that he just doesn't give a shit anymore about saying what he thinks they want him to say... I've reached the breaking point with the Holidays. I'm not angry anymore, I'm just plain sick of them.
And I am not a Scrooge. And I am not alone. More and more people are voicing the same sentiments: Leave Us Alone!! Please!! Give Us A Break!! Even before one holiday ends, the next is being shoved in our faces. Christmas music is playing during Thanksgiving dinner. A car bomb that blows up a gramme school in Iraq is playing second fiddle to the Salvation Army being removed from the outside of Target stores. When the earthquake/tsunami in Asia story was originally reported, it was hardly audible through the din of trembling retailers seeing lower than expected Holiday shopping. We are inundated with Holiday Madness... and it is taking over our sensibilities and being passed down like a cancer to our kids and their kids after that.
Enough is enough! But it's not just Christmas and New Years and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa... it's the diamond broaches and chocolate hearts and cards and romantic dinners and pink lingerie for Valentine's Day; it's the red white and blue outfits and flags and Yankee Doodle noodles and fireworks for Independence Day; the ever-so-somber services and retrospective reports for Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, the trumped up marches and TV specials and interviews and bleeding heart liberal remembrances of Labor Day; the rat in the stump for Groundhog Day; the new and improved and concentrated President's Day, pious Martin Luther King's Birthday, washed-down and sanitized Halloween, stuff your face till you can't walk Thanksgiving, and on and on and on. AHHHHH!!!
Part 2 in progress...