Saturday, August 13, 2005
Novelist E. L. Doctorow has a few things to say about the man who puts the "chicken" in "chickenhawk".
I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be.... He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be. ...To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that, rather than controlling terrorism, his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. ... This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing - to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. ... But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest 1 percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the quality of air in coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class. And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it. ... How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.
He was not allowed to mourn the death of his little sister, whom he is said to have loved very much.
You may further recall that at prep school he received a grade of zero on a paper he wrote about his feelings regarding Robin's death, the topic chosen by himself. (In that paper he used the word "lacerations" as a plural alternative to crying "tears.")
It screwed him up big-time, and he was already pretty screwed-up to begin with, blowing up frogs and all.
He now has a finger on the nuclear button.
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