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