Friday, October 22, 2004
Re-elect the Mascot King
When it comes to the war on terror, America cannot afford to have the wrong man at the helm. The leader of the free world must understand that this clash of civilizations is, above all things, a war of concepts, and he must have the strength and the purity to embrace the boldest possible vision. Now more than ever, America needs a man of ideas in the Oval Office.
George W. Bush is that man. For his administration had not only embraced ideas, it exists, in a sense, only as an idea. It has so rapidly and so readily embraced the boldest of ideas that it has transcended the need for real actions, real plans, real accomplishments, and reality itself.
Any leader could have made the war on terror into a tedious, ongoing struggle to unearth and uproot a multi-tentacled terrorist organization while attempting to heal the rifts between the Muslim world and the West. But George Bush didn't just see the task: he saw the grand idea behind the task, and better still, the vague abstractions behind the grand idea. And he was willing to fight those vague abstractions. Terror, weapons of mass destruction - they may not have been really in Iraq, but the idea of them most certainly was. And that was an idea the world's only superpower had to confront with real troops.
But even in launching a bold, ambitious, and dangerous gamble to remake the Middle East by planting a modernized, liberal democracy in its midst, George W. Bush was determined to let the purity of his ideals stand unsullied by the taint of base reality. He wanted to let the idea of rebuilding Iraq stand free of the messy clutter of plans to realize that idea. What need was there for sufficient troop levels, a trained Iraqi police force, an international coalition or adequate planning when the strength of bold thought was on our side?
And while the reality of Iraq may have steadily deteriorated, the idea of Iraq becomes brighter and brighter every day - and George Bush has stood for that idea, as he has stood for the idea of nuclear proliferation, even while scaling back on Nunn-Lugar and coddling Pakistan; as he has stood for the rebuilding of Afghanistan, even while consistently cutting corners on its funding; as he has stood for protecting the environment, even while gutting a host of environmental regulations dating back to the Nixon era; as he has stood for Homeland Security, even while dangerously underfunding actual security in ports, on borders, and in America's largest cities; as he has stood for civil liberties, even while supporting an amendment to make every gay American a second-class citizen and claiming the right to suspend the Geneva conventions. And in this we see that the George Bush presidency has elevated not only conventional politics, but the presidency itself, to an ideal: the president is no longer an executive who acts, but an Icon, who represents that which ordinary presidents hope to achieve by way of acting.
We can only hope to see George Bush stand for more ideas in his second term: standing for a disarmed Iran, for a more peaceful Mideast, for the prevention of a nuclear 9/11. We hope to see him aided by a newer and even more powerful Cabinet of Mascots: Defense Secretary G.I. Joe, Treasury Secretary Uncle Moneybags, National Intelligence Director Boris Badanov, Transportation Secretary Michelin Man, and Agriculture Secretary Elsie the Cow. And who better to take the reins of the State Department - and stand for reconciliation with our allies - than that representation of dignity, diplomacy and grace, Mr. Peanut?
Indeed, in time it may become possible that the distance between President Bush's ideas and his reality becomes so vast that he achieves pure abstraction - so that he himself is an idea, leading America not from the White House but from the Platonic Realm of Forms, where with but a thought he can eradicate the concept of Terror altogether. And that, my friends, is an idea worth standing for the concept of fighting for.
The Medium Lobster endorses George W. Bush.
posted by the Medium Lobster at 10:47 PM