"Size of protest? It's like deciding, well, I'm not going to decide policy based upon a focus group. The role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security, in this case, the security of the people."
George W. Bush
, February 19, 2003
Dear Mr. President,
I was one of the millions of people who made up your 'Saturday focus group', the one you so pointedly ignored. I had to shovel my driveway to go protest against your war, and I had to march in the midst of a powerful snowstorm, but I marched anyway. And I'm glad I did.
I never thought my act would affect your decision. If you were the kind of man who listened to others you might try compromise instead of saying "no" on every major international issue of import to our allies. You said "no" to banning land mines, "no" on the Kyoto Accord, and "no" on the International War Crimes Tribunal. Now I may have agreed with you on one or two of those issues, and I certainly agree that America has the right to say "no" now and then. But you can't refuse people all of the time and expect them to back you when you want something. If the French and the Germans seem a bit miffed, well, why are you surprised?
I'm not the sort of person who generally protests. First of all, I'm no pacifist. And my previous protest experiences haven't been that good. In 1992 I stood in sub-zero temperatures to protest against the Ku Klux Klan, and frankly I didn't think much of my fellow protestors. A lot of them are just as hateful and brain dead as the Klukkers, though in a different way. I haven't marched since. But I'm thinking I may make a habit of it.
You see, I'm getting tired of living inside a Marx Brothers movie. Don't get me wrong, I love Duck Soup, but I don't want to live in Freedonia. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's comparing Iran to Germany is almost akin to the insult contest between Groucho and Ambassador Tarantino. America has done some cool things, and is not the villain many think, but we have no right to go around pretending that we're the sole keepers of Goodness and Light in the world. We're a country, we're made of people, and people fuck up. And we're a superpower, which means we can fuck up in a really big way. Consider requiring consensus and UN approval before acting as a good reality check, a way of ensuring that we don't go over the deep end.
It would be nice if you admitted you could fuck up and then acted like you believed it.
Remember that speech you made when you promised that "America will never abandon the Afghan people"? I do. Well, the very night I hear about Rumsfeld talking about the 'old Europe' falling behind I come home and hear that the budget you submitted to Congress contains ZERO dollars in aid for Afghanistan. What were you thinking about? Do you want the Taliban back in Kabul? I'm sorry, but your foreign policy is starting to look like a Voltaire satire.
So I put on my Carhartts and joined a few thousand hardy souls who were carrying signs in a blizzard. And I am damned glad I did. Sure there were some nutcase leftists there, but there were a lot of centrists too, normal people with sense and a job, and who aren't used to circulating petitions and carrying signs. I had a good time meeting some of them.
And I feel clean. I know you're about to invade Iraq and you don't really care what I think. It's your call anyway, because you're the guy who got inaugurated. But I care about me. I love my country and I hate the idea of America doing something stupid. So I had to try and save it.
Mr. President, I'd like to leave you with one final thought. While I was there I saw a sign, carried by a well-dressed middle-aged professional woman that I think you ought to read. It said: 'Who Would Jesus Bomb?'
Now you never stop reminding us of how important your Christian faith is, so I'd like to ask you to read the Sermon on the Mount and tell me Who Would Jesus Bomb?
I'd really like to know.
I actually sent this little rant to the White House with my actual name, address, phone number etc included. I've always wanted the FBI watching my house : Seriously, I know the only thing that happened was that a staffer read part of it, jotted down a checkbox marked 'negative' and then deleted it. We do what we must do.