Where Wings Take Mind With Bush as Log Cabin Grammarian
by Jack Kenny
by Jack Kenny
"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream," our president has declared. Sometimes wings take mind during a presidential address and glazes eye over, leading to thoughts like these:
Are our president learning? Has our leaders been focusing on the wrong gulf in a wrong war in the wrong hemisphere? Or is that, as they say in Washington, "close enough for government work"?
Bush has been faulted for being tardy in response to the Katrina disaster. But why just pick on Bush? Why didn't Sen. Ted "Splash" Kennedy hightail it down to New Orleans and show those folks how to survive under water?
In the midst of all that immense suffering, was there a little too much in the news about the terribly urgent question of where the NFL's New Orleans Saints are going to play their home games? Baton Rouge? Houston? Alabama? Heck, try Mexico.
Is it time yet for George W to stop playing the Tony Blair version of Winston Churchill and start boning up on "Grecian" tragedy? Bush, who advocated a more "humble" role for America when he was a candidate in 2000, now needs to be reminded of the perils of hubris. But that might be asking too much. George probably thinks "hubris" was Vice President Humphrey.
The war in Iraq is going badly, Bush is plummeting in the polls and even tax cuts have lost their appeal. Have you noticed Bush isn't talking about going to Mars anymore? The next poll may show 39 percent of the people in favor of Bush's idea of going to Mars, with 73 percent opposed to him coming back. And 49 percent think Condi Rice should divorce him.
Why are people so upset with Bush for taking such long vacations? Does he do a better job when he's working?
People who would like to be Bush's successor — the presidential hopefuls and hopelesses — are already visiting Iowa and New Hampshire. Why? The Red Sox won the World Series last year. Therefore, the next President will be… Warren G. Harding. (You can look it up.)
A lot of people are already backing "Hillary for President" and no one has to ask, "Hillary who?" If we're going to have a one-name celebrity as president, I prefer Cher. At least we'd have a less pretentious class of "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" cavorting about the White House.
If Hillary does become president, will she be our first warriorette in chief? Our will she inherit the title formerly held by Margaret Thatcher: Attila the Hen?
Nearly 50 years ago, Republicans started asking, "Who lost China?" Now Pat Buchanan is asking, "Who lost New Orleans?" We may even have lost Fats Domino. We're starting to lose things at home now. Does that mean America is growing senile?
Does our Secretary of Defense, Baron von Rumsfeld, ever get credit for being a deep thinker? Remember, this is the guy who said, "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war." Oooh, heavy, dude! Take away the death and permanent injury, along with such unfortunate side effects as disease, homelessness and malnutrition, and war probably wouldn't look much worse than a lot of other government programs.
Will a foreign power occupying the United States one day explain to the grandchildren of today's neocons that, "This is the Bush doctrine your grandfathers supported"? Will Rumsfeld be Defense Secretary then, too? (That guy's been around forever!)
Will occupation by a foreign power be the only way we'll have rulers capable of speaking English again? ("Is our children learning?") Will some future "coalition of the coherent" have to destroy the United States to save the English language?
Is Bush-bashing getting out of hand? There are, to be sure, a great many "language snobs" in the land, insisting on things like agreement of subject and verb. But for Bush, such an agreement might require a treaty, or at least a declaration by the United Nations. A mere constitutional amendment would, like the rules of grammar, escape the president's attention.
Besides, I believe Bush is a pluralist at heart. I can't speak for the president, of course, but I think if he were asked, he might say something like this: "Well, if a plurailst subject and a singulary verb wants to join together and adopt a sentence, then I don't think I and the vice president has a problem with that."
Bush, you see, has only been posing as a conservative Republican. He's really a Log Cabin Grammarian.
September 6, 2005
Manchester, NH, resident Jack Kenny [send him mail] is a freelance writer.
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