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Okay, let’s you and I discuss a little something that’s been on my mind as of late. I’m talking about politics and, more bluntly, strange bedfellows.
Simply put: I like Bush. I like the guy, I really do. I think Dubya is a fine human being, an underrated thinker and a man who, in good times and in bad, will serve with honor and integrity. Anyone who can enter a room to Hail to the Chief and still refer to his closest friends as “turd blossoms” is tops in my book. Yet some people seem to have a problem with him. While they’re entitled to their opinions, I get the sneaky suspicion that their displeasure is based less on the man and more on the political climate. And I think that’s just wrong.
Let me set the record straight: I don’t care about your political persuasion. One way or the other, even somewhere in between, your beliefs are yours and my beliefs are mine and neither of us have the right to tell the other that they’re wrong. We live in America for crying out loud; we’re entitled to think for ourselves. [Note: If you don’t live in America and/or a society that functions in a remotely democratic manner, just pretend].
Some people are Republicans, others Democrats. Many are affiliated with third parties. Then there are conservatives, ultra conservatives, liberals, bleeding heart liberals, extremists, nincompoops, you name it and they’ve got representation. And again, I think that’s cool. Me? Personally, I’m a non-partisan moderate. That means I refuse to limit myself to any one thing. I take each cause for what it’s worth and I make my decisions based on my overall feelings. In other words, I think things through.
Hey, everyone should try this non-partisan moderate point of view. Oops… there I go oppressing you with my political beliefs. It’s pretty easy, isn’t it?
Anyway, the problem I’m having is all these people who are opening up their mouths and lambasting the president without so much as thinking things through (there’s that tricky concept again). Case in point: Comedy Central. On Wednesday nights, I make a habit of watching That’s My Bush. Trey Parker and Matt Stone are comedy geniuses, and I love this particular program. Its sense of humor is smart, smarmy and altogether worth my while. It’s a brilliant idea to suggest that the President of the United States of America would live in an environment atypical of situation comedies. Especially since it’s replete with: a wacky next door neighbor; a blonde bombshell who receives audience catcalls; and a Ralph Kramdenesque catch phrase, “Laura, one of these days, I’m gonna punch you in the face!”
After watching an episode one night in late April, I stayed tuned afterwards for The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart. My brother had been in the studio audience that afternoon and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of him. I gave up 15 minutes later and turned to Howard Stern on the E! network. If I was going to willingly subject myself to lowbrow entertainment, I figured I might as well not be appalled in the process.
I was taken aback by Jon Stewart, et al, who did nothing but take incessant potshots at President Bush. At first, he said they were going to report on Bush’s first 100 days in office, even though it was, at the time, only his 96th day. I thought this was funny. But then the tone changed, as Stewart & Co. went on to bash the president on economic and environmental issues, as well as foreign affairs. Following a series of uneducated accusations, in the friendly guise of comedy, Stewart finally implored that the audience do its part to remove Bush from the Oval Office.
Why? Why would Stewart suggest that we the people take such a course of action? It’s because Stewart’s values are different than Dubya’s. What bothers me is that this difference in opinion is apparently reason enough for a so-called comedian to make a political stand by virtue of comments that are not based in fact whatsoever. If you’re going to use comedy to make a political statement, your statement shouldn’t be slanderous and biased in purpose, Mr. Stewart! That’s just wrong. Whereas That’s My Bush is an intelligently scripted farce, much like a Saturday Night Live skit, The Daily Show is just a trashy example of how people with empowered voices try and set the American agenda.
I’m not going to sit here and patronize anyone. I know that Jon Stewart knows better. This isn’t an example of an insecure stand-up comedian trying to hide his pain through sarcasm. These aren’t the tears of a clown. This was a premeditated political message, disseminated through a platform that doesn’t require the taking of responsibility. This is no different than when George himself, along with Dick Cheney, referred to a certain newspaper columnist as a “major asshole.” It was only their opinion, right? Just because they think the guy is a jerk doesn’t mean he is, in actuality, a jerk. Does it?
Either way, Jon Stewart is small potatoes. Really he is. My gripe is with three particular Hollywood loudmouths. The aforementioned strange bedfellows, if you will: Alec Baldwin; Julia Roberts; and Barbra Streisand.
Let’s start with Mr. Baldwin. Alec, may I call you Alec? Alec, remember the time you said that you’d move out of the country if George W. Bush won the election? Do you remember that, Alec? Do you? Well, I do. And I’d like to know why you’re still here. Is it because you’re just too lazy to move out of the country? Probably. But that makes you a liar, Alec. And liars’ opinions have no rightful place in setting the American agenda.
Yet I’m sure you have no intentions of shutting up any time soon. That’s fine. You’re entitled. You’re American; you have the freedom of speech. Maybe that’s the reason that you’re still here, Alec. When it comes down to it, America truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and that’s what makes Bush’s victory so important. So, I dare you, Alec, pack your things and move. Just like you promised, Alec, you can move to Cuba. Or China. Or any of the countless other countries where people’s voices cannot be heard.
Do you see what I’m getting at? The people have spoken, Alec. They’ve said they’re evenly divided. They’ve said that half of ‘em like big government, half of ‘em like small government, and the solution lies somewhere in between. And if you don’t like it, get out. Otherwise, we’ll just keep calling your bluffs.
Now, Ms. Roberts, Julia if I may, my qualm with you began when you referred to Dubya as “not my president.” Well, what the hell is that supposed to mean? Not your president? Excuse me, do you live here? Are you raking in millions of dollars straight from the wallets of the American people? Last I checked you were. You know what that says to me, Julia? It says you’re living the American dream. You’ve got a talent, you’ve applied it to your chosen career path, and you’ve done very well for yourself. What’s that called again? Capitalism? Yes, yes it is. And who made that possible? America? You’re damned right.
So, I’m guessing that makes you a big fan of this grand old country, Julia. I can only assume that you love America and that you love living the American dream. But if you really loved America, no matter how you felt it should be run, you would know better than to cheapen the office of the presidency. But then your main man already did that for the last eight years, didn’t he?
Even if your political philosophy is not in line with the president’s personal views, don’t you have any concept of how much worse it can be? You know, a lot of Germans, Russians and Italians felt the same way back in the 1940s. The difference was, Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini had no intentions of running for reelection. Get behind your leader. Keep the country strong. If your opinions are different than his, then vote for his opponent come 2004. But just because you didn’t vote for him in 2000 doesn’t mean you wish for him to do a bad job. That’s not the American way.
In case you didn’t notice, Mrs. Roberts, George W. Bush did win the White House. Close as it might have been, he won. And if he’s not your president, might I suggest you and Alec get together and find quarters that are more to your liking?
Lastly, on the topic of Barbra Streisand, allow me first to sum up my feelings with a message to the woman herself: Babs, quit sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong.
If you haven’t already heard, Babs has recently been floating around the concept of an all-liberal cable news channel. Hello, Earth to Babs, come in Babs. Hollywood, we’ve got a problem. Listen lady, you’ve already got CNN, what more could you possibly need?
This notion of yours is absurd, Babs, but moreover it is outright frightening. Just because a bunch of knuckleheads down in the Sunshine State couldn’t count (another problem altogether) doesn’t necessitate the launch of a flat-out platform for political propagandizing. This idea is silly. Silly, silly, silly! This is not what the people want, this is not what the people need, and seeing this idea to fruition could cause major unrest throughout the American community.
I understand that you will continue to use your star status as a soapbox, Babs; I have little belief in my ability to shut you up. Again, this being the land of free speech and opportunity, I can’t expect you to shut your trap no matter how badly I’d like you to do so. But I know a dangerous game when I see one, and this all-liberal news network is a game that you should not be playing with the American people. Forfeit this game and do it now.
I’ll put things into perspective. If this fantasy of yours got off the ground, what would its purpose be? Truthfully speaking, it would promote liberal ideas in an unjust manner; everything would be openly and proudly biased. Such zealotry would espouse the worst facets of the Democratic Party. This is bad for everyone, be they liberal, conservative, moderate or apathetic. I’m sure Julia and Alec have found themselves a new homeland by now. How about you ask them what television is like in Communist China? I’m sure they’ll tell you how the people in China believe the Americans were to blame for that recent midair collision. And I’m sure they’ll explain to you that the reason the public thought as such had little or nothing to do with a common logical conclusion drawn from two sides of the argument. See, in China, they also have media outlets that filter out all opposing political ideas. It’s called Communism, Ms. Streisand, and it’s no good!
Am I still not getting through? Allow me to wax hypothetical. Imagine there was a new network called CNC, the Conservative News Channel. How would you react to that, Babsy? Would you take that lying down? I don’t think such a network would last two weeks on the drawing board before you came along and denounced its every motive.
Okay, by now I’m probably coming across as a closed-minded conservative. Well, I’m not. In fact, I voted for the other guy, Al Gore. That just shows how non-partisan moderate I am.
When Gore himself told the American people back in December to get behind the new president, I took his advice and applied it to my way of thinking. And, in recent months, I have seen that this Dubya fellow isn’t so bad after all.
While people of the Babs, Alec and Julia ilk were out criticizing Bush on the campaign trail, I looked past their beloved so-called Bushisms. I’d much rather have a president who cannot pronounce a handful of words than a president who purposely uses words to deceive the people he is supposedly serving. Between verbal miscues (Bush) and outright lies (Clinton), you tell me which is the real crime. If you guessed the former, you’re frighteningly wrong.
So, if you’re wondering why I didn’t vote for Bush, allow me to explain myself. Really, my lone concern with submitting a vote for GWB last year was his inexperience in leadership. Gore had a lot, Bush had a little, and I voted accordingly. In retrospect, that could be considered a non-factor, but it seemed like a sticking point at the time. At least I voted. At least I had my voice heard.
Besides, George Dubya has thus far proven himself a capable and honorable leader. Silly me, I admire that in a guy. Maybe I’m old fashioned? Or maybe, I prefer to think, I’m just not a strange bedfellow.Read JDM's books!