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Home > World

State of the Union Blues

21 January 2004

The doors at the back swung open, necks craned, and the honourable members of Congress clucked and preened like a coopful of simpering hens waiting for the rooster. And they were not disappointed. In he came: Foghorn Leghorn.

the_president.gif

“I say, I say, I say… boy…”

Gasps rang out. The President is here! The President is here! Ohmygodhe'ssohandsome!
George! George!

congress.bmp

Hands were thrust out, and the lucky few were granted a Presidential shake, and (even better) Presidential eye contact. Nodding George muttered some half-words back at the craning faces and a cute black toddler in her best Sunday braids was passed through the throng - like Crocodile Dundee at the end of the movie. The President pressed his lips to her confused face, held her just long enough to show the black voters how much he loves them really - and you forgive me for Florida, don't you? - and then he was off again.

And as he shuffled along through the chamber, the most powerful man on earth, the President of the United States of America... something jarred horribly.

Against the glow of adulation, George Bush stood out in terrifying relief. A small man in a great office. Morally small, intellectually small - a small and weasely man with greedy, beady little eyes and nothing going on behind them.

...now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

The gavel came down, people sat, and George began:

"Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests and fellow citizens: America, this evening, is a nation called to great responsibilities. And we are rising to meet them."

And the greatest responsibilty of all?

"Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people."

Active defense. How does that work? Is it like waging peace? And does it include invading countries without UN backing? (We just want to be clear on this, George).

And Responsibility. How can we understand the word coming from George's mouth, when it is so hard to believe in George Bush as a person who responds in any kind of genuine way to anything?

"There can be no true response without responsibility; there can be no responsibility without response."

- Arthur Vogel

George Bush doesn't speaks with the air of someone genuinely grappling with the problems of the world. There is no sense of dialogue, just a mish-mash of learned phrases. The kind of phrases you might be able to teach a very clever rooster.

“I say, I say, I say… boy…”

And worst of all, it often seems that underneath the robes of office, underneath the half-smiles and the easy-to-remember sentences, there isn't actually anyone there at all. Certainly no one who could say, as Abraham Lincoln said:

"I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me."

The only friend down inside George is Mr Jack Daniels, and even Jack doesn't hang around as much as he used to. Not since Dick Cheney hid the key of the White House minibar.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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