Sunday, February 05, 2006

State of the disUnion

Have you ever seen such a piss-poor example of public speaking than President Bush’s State of the Union speech the other night? Alternately grimacing, smirking, and with facial ticks exploding, he gave the worst delivery I have seen since Betty Ann Gowdowski gave my junior high school commencement address.

And, of course, he lied right through his very teeth; every word a sculpted falsehood, and every breath mendacious. Plus he had that look of the inner spoiled child we all know him to be - that furtive, sneaky, corner-of-the-eye look you get from a nine-year-old who has been caught breaking into the liquor cabinet. Yep, that look you get from adolescents when they know that we know that they’re lying. They don’t stop lying, of course, but still, that look that makes you want to smack ‘em.

The Constitution of the United States, that quaint document, requires that the President make a report to Congress annually, describing the “state of the union.” It doesn’t stipulate the form, length, time of delivery or even any other particular; the assumption being (I guess) that the Framers thought that the President would be forwarding a kind of corporate statement: monies in the bank, troops deployed where and for how long, debts outstanding, how many cities under water, stuff like that. You know, facts. It also doesn’t require that the PreZ actually deliver a speech, or even appear before Congress in person, and in fact the first-ever state of the Union report was a handwritten letter from George Washington to the Speaker of the House.

Where and when it became a grandstanding propaganda event is hard to pinpoint, as these kind of things usually morph slowly over time, much like volunteering to drive your neighbor’s kid to soccer practice - next thing you know, you’re a Boy Scout troop leader descending the Grand Canyon on a twenty-six inch wide trail on a sick burro with fifteen pimply-faced Boy Scouts crowding your butt.

So we all know that the delivery sucked, with the PreZ looking like a juvenile delinquent caught in the policeman’s flashlight beam, and every word a lie. So what exactly is the state of the Union? Is there an elected Democrat out there who has a grip on this thing? Any clue at all?

Newly-elected Democratic Governor of the state of Virginia Tim Kaine took a stab at it and gave a fair but lame speech right after, if you could concentrate on his words while trying like hell to ignore his semaphoring left eyebrow. Jeez; this is the best the Dems could put up? No wonder the rank and file are disgusted by the leadership.

Anyway, he only hit some highlights while pretty much glossing over the real stench of the state of the Union, and this ain’t the half of it: 80,000 mutilated American veterans of the Iraq war; 200,000 dead Iraqis; absolutely no intention of pulling out of the Middle East any time soon; a trillion dollars down the toilet in Iraq with zero light at the end of the tunnel; Halliburton is still building permanent military bases in Iraq like there’s no tomorrow; they’re still disappearing prisoners when they’re not waterboarding them; 200,000 homeless and a thousand dead as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina; eight billion bucks in cold hard cash was stolen right out from under the nose of Paul Bremer, Interim Imperator of Iraq and he’s still walking around a free man; Osama bin Laden is still sunning in the south of France a free man; John Bolton is single-handedly wrecking the United Nations; Paul Wolfowitz is loaning money to blood-thirsty African thugs who hack off the hands and feet of four-year-old kids; Ann Coulter still hasn’t had her yap stuffed with wet sand yet; the House Republicans just elected a Leader with the ethics of a wharf rat who has a history of handing out bribes and kickbacks to fellow corporate stooges on the floor of the House of Representatives; and on and on and more coming soon.

But it occurs to me, since the Republicans have this big majority in Congress and all, and Georgie has three more years in which to blow up this planet, that nothing the Dems say or do will make a damn bit of difference for the people’s business unless they get a majority again – then clearly the bare minimum they could do is to start saying something real, like telling the Truth of the state of the Union. Loudly, clearly, and often.

It couldn’t hurt. The Repugs are only pausing from counting their corporate bribes to laugh like hell at the Dems anyway, so what have they got to lose?

I’ll tell you: all they have to lose is this Republic.

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