Wednesday, March 21, 2007

W Can't Get No Respect

It must be hard work to be George W. Bush. Most everywhere he goes in the world, people hold mass demonstrations against him, dress him up like Hitler, and burn him in effigy. Guatemalan Mayans even felt the need to spiritually cleanse a sacred holy site after his visit. Unlike a common tourist, his mere presence was deemed enough to defile the place.

I wonder if this registers with him at all. I’m pretty sure it would affect me if every place I visited acted out the same basic metaphorical burning of the sheets after I left, differing only in local, culturally appropriate ways. Eventually I would start to wonder why people think so poorly of me. Of course, I suppose it depends on who it was. If a crazed lunatic like Pat Robertson were doing the post-visit purifications, I would probably wear it as a badge of honor.

But gentle Mayans? Generating hate from them is akin to having the Dalai Lama spit on you while Mother Teresa knees you in the groin. Sure, they got a little bit militant-y when the Guatemalan government tried to commit genocide against them for 30 odd years. But they’ve completely kicked that human sacrifice habit they had a few centuries ago, and are one of the most spiritually in-tune cultures in the world.

I know this because I am now an expert on Mayans, having read almost an entire book about them (“I, Rigoberta Manchu, An Indian Woman in Guatemala”, highly recommended, especially the parts I read). Plus, I have seen some actual live Mayans, and they definitely seemed gentle to me. And short. They were all short and gentle, and not once did I see them publicly purify sacred sites that gringos were defiling. This should definitely be a sign to W, like a flock of canaries dropping dead as they pass over one of his stripped-mined coal fields.

To be fair, most presidents get a lot of mud thrown at them, and are hated by great numbers of people. After all, Clinton was despised by conservatives almost as much as Bush is despised by the vast majority of the world. I suppose we’d have to get into a long, boring comparison of whether the centrist Clinton should be more vilified for lying about sex than Bush should be for misleading the country into war, ballooning the deficit, doing everything he can to make the rich and powerful more rich and powerful, denying the reality of global warming, illegally wiretapping US citizens and lying about it, firing federal prosecutors for political reasons, gutting the government so it has a hard time responding to natural disasters, and generally destroying the good name of Americans the world over.

But, I don’t have the energy for it today. Having gentle Mayans scorn him is punishment enough.


Charles said...

Seems to me like he is tasting the bitter fruit of an extended bout of epic dissembling, polarization, and you're-either-with-us-or-against-us-ing. The arrogance of assuming you are always right and others holding other views are fools has led George to this sorry state. I suppose what troubles me most is that I don't think he has a clue how lost he is.

That said, if not George, then what? In a sense, we've gotten to this collective bad place because our political scene for the past 7 years has been "George" and "Not George". To get some meaningful change, it might help to flesh out those "Not George" options a bit more.

Dan S said...

I totally agree. As Jon Stewart remarked on election day, the Democractic strategy has been to "slowly back out the room while your brother gets yelled at for burning down the garage".

They can no longer simply be the Anti-George-Bush party to win elections, since he won't be around to compare to.

snarkbutt said...

I don't have any problem with the George/Not George dichotomy. That's a no brainer to me. Not George is clearly the better choice.

Here's a medical analogy and a sports cliche to illustrate my point. Sometimes you have to stop the bleeding before you can heal the wound. And defense wins championships. First priority: Stop George!

brownie said...

"If a crazed lunatic like Pat Robertson were doing the post-visit purifications, I would probably wear it as a badge of honor."

Hmmm. You agree with the pagans and revile the Christian. Makes me wonder if what Jesus prophesied is now coming true: "all shall hate you on account of my name."

Dan S said...

Yea, well, the Mayans generally act more like Jesus than Pat Robertson does.

People don't dislike Pat Robertson "on account of the name of Jesus". They dislike him because he is hateful and perverts the name of Jesus.

Fingtree said...

I have recently applied for the Pat Robertson School of Law. I can't believe anyone would consider him a "crazed lunatic".
I believe he is the brother of God, or perhaps the brother in law of God. What would Jesus do? Call him Uncle.

brownie said...

Even Christians are sinners.