February 1, 2006
State Of The Union
I was halfway through my shower when I realized that the State of the Union address might be on the TV. I finished washing off the lather and turned on CNN, “the most trusted channel in news” only to see that I had missed it. No big deal. Modern technology allows me to not miss anything. I punched State of the Union into Google, and, within seconds, I was on the White House web site reading the text of the speech. I was more than half way through when I realized that it sounded very familiar: freedom, evildoers, rouge regimes, weapons of mass destruction, war, war, America, America blah, blah, blah, when I realized that I was inadvertently reading the speech from 2003.
I share this quip only to show how irrelevant and ridiculous this speech has become. As I was reading the president's ideas on: tax reform, the economy, and the environment, I said to myself, “These are all lies. He will not do any of these things.” I had to laugh when I realized my mistake, because I had proven myself right. He hadn’t done any of the things he promised in 2003. And here we are three years later listening to him try and pawn off old lies as new ones.
For the last year, I have been trying to shed a bit of my anger toward politics, because it was turning me into the type of person I didn’t want to be mainly jaded, bitter, cynical, depressed, and helpless. Although, I still read articles and feel my skin crawl, I am trying not to react as vehemently as I have in the past. I want to be able to face the world and its crisis with more poise and optimism. So with this new sense of lightness, I began to read this year's speech, and I promised myself that I would not become angry.
This proved to be impossible, but, rather than sit here and go through a point by point breakdown of the flaws in the presidents speech, I have decided to take a step back and observer my reactions to his lies and misinformation. My indignation derives from the fact that I have a basic understanding of reality, and when what I see in front of me: a list of half truths, propaganda, and for lack of a better word bullshit, clash with the facts I have read about in history, I become angry. And so when Bush says things like:
Let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
I think of the staged coup in 1953 that led to a downward spiral of a fledgling Iranian democracy, to a US backed-dictatorship, to the fundamentalist theology W. so hates today. One that, I may add, has been in power my entire life, and one who Reagan had no problem dealing with the in 80’s.
However, I am not angry anymore when I hear that Bush wants to be my friend. Instead, I pity him. Please let me explain. We are usually only confronted by people who have lost touch with reality on the streets. They are usually covered in their own urine and are spouting off gibberish; these poor people suffer from varying degrees of mental disability and are in need of help. Normally, we do not become angry when they say things that are untrue like: Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform – now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts.
If a lunatic in the street says something like: We are the Nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed, and move this world toward peace…
We would not seethe with rage at the absurdity of their comments. We would uncomfortably smile and shirk away becasue we know they are deranged. We would hope that someone would help the poor fool come to terms with reality and maybe give him a brief history lesson on imperialism and the CIA.
And so as I read George W. Bush's speech, I came to a very comforting epiphany. The president of the Untied States is at worst a deranged, delusional idiot who is playing his part as simpleton cowboy goes to Washington, and at best he is a clown, a fool, an imbecile who knows not what he says more than a drooling psychotic in some mental ward. So how could I have directed so much hatred toward such a dupe? I must wish him well and hope that maybe he will get some help. Just as I do when I see a raving lunatic on the street.
The problem I realized, with this sort of thinking, is that most people ignore the raving lunatic in the street, but for some reason people listen to this jackass mumbling in the Capitol. I have realized, thank god for my own well-being, that I cannot go into every house in America armed with a copy of A People’s History of the Untied States and slap the viewers silly with the truth. I must have faith and realize that a country led by a crazy person will at some point implode, at which point I can only hope that there are plenty of people cognizant enough of the truth to start re-building. I mean there are enough of us to see past this right?
Despite my newly found ambivalent view of the president’s words, however, I am terrified because I know that while the puppet dances the masters plot. And their schemes this time around will mean turning my homeland into another desert wasteland, resembling the ghost of a nation that is now our not so cooperative neighbor. This time around the speech hits more at home, literally, like my fathers condo sitting in the heart of Tehran or maybe my aunt’s house waiting to be turned into rubble. This time when I look at the news and see raw sewage running down the streets, gas shortages, and suicide bombers killing innocent people, my ninety year old grandfather could be one of the faces I see crying on my television screen.
So although I try to stay clam as I hear the idiot speak, I know that his words will have consequences, and those consequences are seldom funny.
When he says:
By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment … move beyond a petroleum-based economy … and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.
I bet his father and all of his oil buddies are laughing out loud. Laughing at their little puppet, their little fool. Laughing at dead Iraqi children, at the Iranians yearning for freedom, laughing at us the American people.
I may not be as angry as I once was, but I still feel the need to quote a very cross young man from the band Rage Against The Machine:
You can scream it or whisper it, but until we do, the puppets will say things like this, as their masters laugh and laugh:
So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East.
and think we believe them.