You know, I can’t even hear him anymore. When President Bush is on TV, or on the radio, I almost always instinctively change the channel or the station. I can tolerate listening to Bush in post script – I mean, I can hear people making comments about his speeches or “quips” or whatever he does that constitutes talking. I can hold by breath and just barely take it when there is commentary about his speeches, but I can’t actually listen or watch them as they occur. I just hate him too much.
And it doesn’t feel like a cerebral, intellectual choice. It feels like it’s instinctive, and I am repulsed. Like he is not just a president who I really don’t like, but instead spoiled milk in my fridge, milk that I innocuously lift to my nose and then recoil from and nearly gag. I can’t help it. When I am in the car and his voice invades my otherwise thoughtful sanctuary, I watch my hand change the station even before I am aware that he is speaking! Yes. It’s that bad. It’s below the level of awareness, and I cannot control it and I don’t want to control it. Usually, if it’s an important speech, I will read it in the paper the next day. Then, I can digest it -- nearly. But I cannot hear his voice, I cannot watch his cocky arrogant teenagish demeanor, I cannot peer into his chicken eyes and I cannot stomach his permanent smirk. I hate how he rests his body weight on one foot and leans in with one shoulder, like the smart aleck in junior high (see how I’m making him less mature with each analogy?) and I hate his superior snicker. I hate him. It’s beyond anything rational, I just HATE HIM SO MUCH.
Unfortunately, yesterday, at the gym, I was on the stair master and Bush was in the middle of his latest speech (which I think was actually given the night before) and the spectacle of him was on both the TV channels right in front of me and I have no idea how to change them and other people were watching, so I really couldn’t. The sound was off, but you could read the text of his speech below him.
All I can say about this is, every time I write off this last eight years or bemoan how we have injured the world by electing this pig, or worry, worry, worry that we will never regain any sort of respect in the world, and every time I think of other president’s blunders and think how bad Bush is compared with even the worst other presidents we’ve had and then I just think I’ve settled that in my mind: Bush is the worst, he’s taken us closer to the brink, blah blah blah end-of-story: every time I’ve done this, when I am confronted with the man afresh – when I can’t avoid him – when he is there before me as I step up and on the stair master for example…I am again shocked and flabbergasted that the specter of him is so ghastly. So much worse than I had thought before; before when I thought he was the WORST POSSIBLE. How does he do that? It’s like he had broken some physical law or something.
And I have to admit, I have a hard time listening to the news about all the violence in Iraq. I can’t really do anything about it in the short term. It upsets me so deeply and I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t want to get jaded, or thick-skinned about it. I think doing that is somehow to lose my humanity, to lose my real compassion, it’s almost an insult to those who are dying. I am tired of having Mulan watch me well up in tears as we drive to gymnastics as I listen to another report about another death squad. Another group of bodies found in the morgue, of another bomb in a marketplace or another group of soldiers turned up burned beyond recognition.
I think, back when I believed in God, I thought that - my being upset about something meant something to the Universe. Like God was listening. It must have been some extension of being coached to pray about my troubles. This idea that collective anger or fear meant something, changed something somehow. But now I see little reason to get upset repeatedly about something that I can do nothing about.
I am doing probably the minimum that each person who is reading this blog might be doing too – I am contributing money to different candidates and to the Democrats, I am teaching my daughter, bit by bit, about how to be an informed citizen. I send in the occasional letter that someone sends me to then send to my representatives. And when I think of doing more, I think I am barely able to get the stuff done in my life that I have to get done right now! I know, I’m just a complainer. Oh! I hate that too! I’m just a complainer!
So in the meantime, I jerk my arm at the radio when Bush is speaking and recoil from my stair master as he blathers on and sometimes I have a news blackout just so I can drive around town without getting distressed. And now it’s been going on so long! It’s become a way of life. Mulan, for example, knows of no other President than this one. She does not know what it is like to be living in a country not at war.
And you can’t believe what it’s like (or maybe you can, maybe you are in the same boat) to be explaining how and why we are in this war to a seven year old. I’m watching Mulan become aware of the world while I explain to her what she just heard on the radio, or how we see people in military fatigues at the airport, or how – when we were at my brother’s house recently and his wife’s brother, who is a pilot, had recently returned from a tour in Iraq and why he and his wife were hoping so much that he didn’t have to go back. And it isn’t glamorous and it isn’t even manly or exciting, it’s just tragic, the whole damn thing. And I have to explain it again and again and it’s a tricky dance because I don’t want her to become cynical or resigned to government being so awful. But so far, that’s all she knows.
Ug. I don’t know, I just needed to rant about this this morning I suppose.