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Shame On You, George
September 25, 2002
By Sheila Samples

Last week in Tennessee, people were chuckling at Geedubya's mangling of a common saying, "Fool me once..." Most chalked it up to his astonishing inability to retain anything not printed out in block letters in front of him -- just another "Bushism" they said, not to worry -- we all know what he was trying to say.

What he said was, "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says fool me once (pause), shame on..... (long, long pause) shame on you. (pause, then rapidly) ... and fool me we can't get fooled again." Note: Before you jump in here and maintain that is not exactly what he said, listen for yourself.

What he was trying desperately not to say was "Shame On Me." I agree with Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon, who believes that Dubbie is incapable of feeling an emotion such as shame. He can't even say it. Nobody in his family has ever said it, and you can make book on the fact that he will not be the first member to break the Bush family "code."

Miller says you can search in vain throughout the archives of Bush family utterances -- both scripted and off-the-cuff -- and you will not find a single moment of self-criticism, self-doubt, ambivalence, open-mindedness -- or even simple curiosity. When faced with the prospect of having to admit even a future error, such as someone could fool him twice, Dub chose instead to flounder around in the tangled mess that is his mind and come up with a song, "Won't Get Fooled Again," by the rock group, The Who.

Some of us aren't laughing. We know that this man (sic) whose shoe size increasingly appears to exceed his IQ is incapable of contrition. He is fixedly convinced of his own infallibility. His pseudofundie-Christian bluster about being called by "History" to rid the Black-and-White world of evil -- his claim that only he is capable of rendering infinite justice -- is not only shameful, it's insane. Geedub is one hungry little caterpillar upon whom the sublities of the phrase, "Bully Pulpit," are lost. Being the most powerful leader (sic) of the most powerful nation in the world means he has the right to absolute and total power to attack whomever he wants for whatever reason, and the rest of the world -- from the United Nations on down -- can either climb aboard and enjoy the ride, shut up and step aside, or get the hell run over.

Some of us recognize the "S" word, and can even say it. George -- since you took office on 20 January 2001, more than 2 million people in this country have lost their jobs, and more are on the chopping block as the economy slides steadily south. Shame on you.

Our stock market has tanked, thanks to scandals involving the voracious greed of your corporate donors. You have even gone to absurd lengths to create diversions that will cover up your own shady business dealings and those of your vice president and most members of your cabinet. Shame on you.

You received ample warnings of impending terrorist attacks on US soil in time to warn the public and to take preventive security measures. You ignored all of them. Shame on you.

On 11 September 2001, this country was attacked by terrorists in what investigators call "the most preventable act of terror in our lifetimes." After you heard of that ghastly attack and the loss of thousands of innocents, you remained in a grammar school class, reading to your peers from a picture book for the better part of an hour. Then you spent the rest of the day flying from one secure, undisclosed hidey-hole to another. Shame on you.

Since that day, you have declared pre-emptive, unmitigated war on the entire Third World. In your lust to "smoke out" one evildoer, you completely devasted an entire country which had no perceptable defenses, installed your own puppet-King-President, and rounded up thousands of swarthy "enemy combatants," including citizens of your own country. Although you managed to bust up more than one wedding party, you allowed that one evildoer to "escape" from more than one pinpointed area. Shame on you.

You withdrew US involvement in furthering peace in the Middle East -- washed your hands of the whole shoddy affair, except to show support for one side and contempt and hate for the other. One side, you say, has the right to kill because it is our democratic ally. The other, alas, has the responsibility to stop all killing and to immediately establish a "true democracy" before it is allowed a seat at the peace table. Oh, shame, shame on you.

You announced that the US will pre-emptively attack Iraq and depose its leader because that evil leader possesses weapons of mass destruction and is "thinking" of obtaining nuclear weapons. You are right, George, the leader of Iraq IS evil and a bully -- much like leaders of Israel, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabi, India and, yes -- even the leader of the United States, George. You are also right that we know Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. We know, because for billions and billions of dollars we sold him tons and tons of chemicals to make those weapons of mass destruction. Shame on you and shame on us.

Do I need to go on? I haven't even begun the litany of shameful assaults you have made on the domestic front. Do we need to look at the tatters of our U.S. Constitution; our beloved Bill of Rights -- the Patriot Act, the TIPS program, the jackbooted Homeland Defense Department, the treaties you have shredded, the environment you have decimated, the children -- the veterans -- you have left behind...?

In case you're wondering, George, the old saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." You fooled us once, George, but like your fave rock group sings, "We Won't Be Fooled Again."

Because we're so ashamed of you.


Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former US Army Public Information Officer.

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