Matt Hardwick (matthardwick) wrote,
Matt Hardwick

Soundbite Technique: AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE!

If his eight years taught us anything, it was that nothing can traduce Americans' limitless sense of virtuous self-regard. To his supporters, he was an emblem of our continued cultural virility, steadfast and Western, who knew right from wrong, trusted his gut, trusted God, knew evil when he saw it. To his opponents, he was the exception that proved the rule, an aberrant figure who violated all the high standards of our exceptional civilization, and in doing so provided fodder for eight years of kvetching that "this isn't who we are," until finally, exit, pursued by Obama, coming to "take back America." To conservatives who soured on him as his popularity declined, he proved the continued vitality of their "movement" by allowing them to gainsay that they were a mere cult of personality. To liberals who lost two elections to him, he was a standard under which to ride into battle against the real villains, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky. He was an empty vessel into which all of our sweet and bitter draughts were poured. He was our mirror.

But who, in fact, was he? And I think the plain answer is that he was no one special, one more failed scion of a failing family, a ruler who could only be considered remarkable, whether for better or worse, in a nation that still fancies itself a democracy. Were we communists, or better yet a monarchy, his vapidity and mediocrity wouldn't shock us at all. People less in thrall to the myth of their own great, national, deliberative process are less inclined to surprise when a bumbler, an asshole, or a moron shows up in the imperial palace, playing dress-up and treating international affairs like a board game. Your own experience in a hierarchy without democratic pretensions should tell you as much. It might drive you nuts, but when was the last time you were surprised that the boss turned out to be an idiot? One could make the case, perhaps, that elections are a reasonable scheme for a city-state somewhere, but a hundred million harried citizens making hazy decisions after two years of propaganda isn't qualitatively different from the happenstance of heredity or the rolling of dice. And George W. Bush, god bless him, is the proof.

-- "George W. Bush - An Appreciation",
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