Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Sort Of Sign-Off On This Last Day Of The Last Days

The Bush Presidency As Foretold....By A Fake Newspaper

By Darryl Mason

I've been thinking for months about what kind of post will best sum up the Bush presidency on this day, the last day of President George W. Bush in the White House.

It was only going through my blogs' archives, for another story entirely, that I stumbled across something that perfectly sums up the Bush presidency for me. Something written as fiction that became fact.

Back in 2001, when George W. Bush, first arrived at the White House, the online satirical newspaper, The Onion, ran the following story. Few others in the American media so effectively prophecised what was to come :

"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending.

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.

Bush concluded his speech on a note of healing and redemption.

"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."

"The insanity is over," Bush said. "After a long, dark night of peace and stability, the sun is finally rising again over America. We look forward to a bright new dawn not seen since the glory days of my dad."

So Bush is gone.

Is it over, then, for The Last Days Of President George W. Bush blog?


Well, kind of.

I have a few dozen story notes and article excerpts on Bush in draft that will pop up on this site, but not as new stories, when I get around to finishing them. That work is not exactly a high priority right now.

But I will be doing a couple of round-up posts of stories from this blog, from the past couple of years, in the weeks to come, to remember what exactly it was we lived through.

And I will come back here to update when there is news of particular interest about Bush, and in a couple of months I will write a Looking Back At Bush essay here. If you do the RSS for this blog, any new posts should pop up there.

And, if Blogger doesn't disappear in the meantime, there will be a day when I come back here to write about the death of former US President George W. Bush. If he goes back to hitting the booze as hard as he did in the 1970s, that day won't be too many years into the future.

As I write this, Bush is preparing to head back to Washington DC, from the ranch in Crawford, Texas, and he will soon shake the hand of President Barack Obama, and then head for Andrews Airforce Base, where he will ride a plane stripped of its official title - Air Force One - back to Texas.

Bush won't return to Washington DC again, in any major way, until the real investigations of criminal behaviour in the Bush White House get underway late this year, or early next year, if he bothers to front the hearings.

I started this blog because I thought it would be a good way to keep track of the scandals and mindfucking news that seemed to flow almost daily, back then, from the Bush White House. They were involved in some serious reality-warping and redefining, and I needed to write about it to make sense of it.

I also thought there might be a book in it all, one day. I think now it will have to be a science fiction novel, instead of a non-fiction book, there are already too many of them about Bush, and this blog will prove very handy as a refence tool for any novel like that I may end up writing.

Doing this blog didn't exactly work out the way I wanted it to. It should have been daily updated, but sometimes it wasn't updated for six or seven weeks at a time. I missed whole months of President Bush history because, well, I had better things to do, but I got down most of what I wanted to write about those days. And writing about it did help greatly in making sense of it.

And how interesting it is to write those words in regard to Bush : Those Days.

Those Last Days Of President George W. Bush.

If you're interested, you can find more of my writing on these blogs, both of which are usually updated daily :

The Orstrahyun

Your New Reality

UPDATE : I just found this, again looking through the blog archives for something else. It's from January 2007. Wouldn't You Cry, Too?

By Darryl Mason, January 2007

You're the President of the United States.

Your country is locked into a war that no-one, really, anymore, believes you can win.

You have met, privately, with the family members of at least one third of the men and women who have died in the war you insisted, for reasons that don't even make sense anymore, had to be fought.

You were surrounded by people who told you it would be "a cake walk", that "Americans would be greeted with flowers and sweets" and that the country you invaded was crying out for all that was good and true and right about America.

You look around today, and most of the people who were there with you, in the dark hours after 9/11, who said, "Yes, Mr President, we must do Iraq", you look around, and most of them aren't there anymore. There's Condi. God bless Condi, but she too was caught up in the filth that flowed in those darkest days. One day, people will read of how she held you in the darkest hours of the darkest days, held you as only a true friend can. You cried then, but you cry more now.

You know it was always a lie, that real men didn't cry. It was illusion. And it made it harder for you to cope when the tears started to come. Because it wasn't supposed to be that way. This was not what men did. At least, that's what you were always taught.

You wished you had been stronger, that you didn't listen to all those voices, all those people, all those front pages stories saying that what you were going to do was the right thing to do. That it was necessary. To do Iraq. To get rid of Saddam.

You did it for your own reasons, too, of course. You did it to become the legend. To make the dream of a world ruled by freedom and democracy a reality. How were you to know that it could never be? That it was all a fantasy? These were supposed to be the best minds in America. The brightest of all the shining stars. But they didn't know anything more than you in the end.

And you did it to show them all. All those who said you were a loser. From the days when your dynasty of privilege and opportunity offered you the world, but locked you out of it as well.

And you did it, in the end, to avenge your father. Or did you do it to show the old man?

To say to him, "Look, I can finish what you started. I can set these people free."

But he shakes his head at you now and says you don't understand, you never understood, this is not the way the world works, there is no black or white, or even shades of grey. The complexity of all would melt the mind of anyone man who tried to take it all in.

But how you were supposed to know that?

He never told you. He never wanted to tell you anything. Only until it was too late. And then he sent in his old friends. But he felt shame when he thought of you. That you could come from him. But who was he? A living joke, when you were the rising star.

Life was easy, for a long time. Drink some beers, have some lunch, go watch your baseball team play a game, chew some tobacco right there in the bleachers, next to your wife. Man, you were king of the world back then. Well, King of Texas, anyway. And that was all the world you knew, and that was all the world you needed to know.

But it's not then, it's now.


And you wonder, you wonder...

Like anyone would wonder.

What happened?

What the fuck happened?

How did it all go so fucking wrong?

This is now. This is your world. Your country. Your people. Your war.

And you're trying to get it right, in the time you have left.

You want to get it right. You would give your life like Jesus to get this right. To make it good.

God told you, this was the right thing to do. That when he said Love, he meant Freedom. That's what you wanted to give to the world as your gift as the most powerful man on the planet.

But your dreams lie in ruins now.

Your world has turned dark. Your dad isn't well. He doesn't understand why you did what you did. He warned you about those people. All those who told you were right, that you would be remembered as greater than George Washington. One day. If only you did what they said.

Get him. Get Saddam. Take his country. Kill them all.

Greater than Washington?

Not now.

Not ever, now.

And they want you gone.

All those who told you you had to do this. That you had to seize the moment in history provided by 9/11 to change the future. They want you gone in the worst way. Because everyday you're still there, you remind them of their own failings. Of their own hatred and their pitiful fancy, and their shame, and egret.

If they even know how to feel shame and regret.

They want you gone so bad, you don't even know if you will make it to your last days, if you will even be alive in January, 2009.

How can two hundred million Americans hate you so much?

Don't they understand? You're not God. You're just...you. The one who was not supposed to succeed. Who was not supposed to become President. You were written off before you even got out of high school. You drank too much, you did too many drugs, you made so many mistakes, but you got your shot at the golden fleece.

The greatest prize in history.

You were so close. Like a god on earth, maybe. For a few weeks perhaps.

So close.

And now it's all gone. All gone.

You dream about the Americans who died in Iraq, in Afghanistan, like you dream about all those other talented, brilliant young people who were engaged in black budget activities that never reached the newspapers, the successes and the failures, all those who will never be granted medals, or even recognised by name for the ways they tried to change the future. Tried to change the world. Like you did.

You keep going back to George Washington.

You keep returning to the same books. Re-reading them, trying to find something in those words, in that history, in those legendary days of the 1770s to guide you now. God isn't there anymore. You call to him, but there's no answer. Not like before.

You pray to Washington now. He was written off, like you are now, nobody believed he could turn it all around and defeat those who were unbeatable. But he did it. He proved them all wrong. And he changed the world forever.

Can you do this now?

Can you make it?

Can you prove them all wrong?

Are you strong enough?

You cry today for that young man, that brave young man who saw a grenade in the street and threw his helmet on it, and then blocked the rest of the blast with his chest. He died back home, with his parents by his side.

That poor kid. He died to save his friends, not only from death, but from shrapnel wounds. How brave is that? You cry because you don't know if you would have done the same thing in the place of the man whose family you just gave a medal to.

You want to cry?

Of course you want to cry.

What man wouldn't.

To see all this horror, and to know it is your own making.

They won't blame Saddam.

Not in two hundred years.

They won't blame Richard Perle and Frank Gaffney Jnr and Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, and all those who signed their names to that fantasyland doctrine in the late 1990s.

Their names will fade.

Some of them, some of those who cried loudest for war against Iraq, their names are already forgotten. They've gone back to being nobody fuck-alls and the nothings they were before you let them walk the halls of the White House and get a lend of your ear.

But your name, George W. Bush, it is your name that will be remembered in the centuries to come.

You are already the most famous President of the United States. Ever.

The poor, starving masses huddled in mud huts in the middle of bone-dry, food-bare Africa, and their equivalents in all the regions of the world, they don't know who the fuck Lincoln and Washington were.

But they know your name.

Oh yeah, they know who you are.

And they blame you for everything.


So you cry now. You cry now for all the dead American soldiers, and all the dead Iraqis and Afghans, and all those dead Somalis from this week as well. You weep for them all. And you cry for your country, and the wars to come, in far off lands, and the wars to come at home.

It won't end well.

There will be more horror to come. For everyone.

And for you, too.

If they let you live that long.

Someone has to pay. Someone always has to pay. To clean the slate. To restore the balance. To clear the halls of the ghosts. To let the world breathe a sigh of relief.

To start at the beginning, to begin again.

Did you give it your all? Did you give it your best shot?