Friday, September 22


All the hoopla over Hugo Chavez's speech to the U.N., in which he called George W. Bush "the devil," is highly amusing to me. Every news outlet has harangued on the subject, wingnut talk radio has gone wild, and the truth is, Chavez only said what a huge portion of the world thinks: that this president and his administration has exhibited all the worst traits ever attributed to our society in the person of "the ugly American."

What, really, will be the legacy of George W. Bush? Dishonest, preemptive war and tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. Then you can throw into the mix an endorsement of torture, a political strategy of character assassination, and a campaign to destroy the Constitution.

When you consider that honestly, doesn't that sound much more characteristic of a satanic influence than of the Judaeo-Christian ethic?

No, I don't think Bush is the devil. But then again, as the old saw goes, when the devil appears he doesn't come in the form of a red-cloaked horned monster -- he appears as an angel of light. As the character Aaron Altman said in the great film Broadcast News, "What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women."

The character of men and women can be fairly evaluated by the ways in which they use their power. Jimmy Carter has spent his post-presidential years building homes for the poor, monitoring elections and highlighting human rights abuses throughout the world, and pressing the cause of peace. Bill Clinton has sponsored the Clinton Global Initiative, which seeks to solve seemingly unsolveable world problems "one bite at a time," uniting people of power and wealth in efforts that governments have failed to tackle.

Dubya just wants to clear brush off his cattle- and horse-less ranch.

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