FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Day I Was Asked to Feed an Elephant

by WALT BRASCH

On April 21, I finally became part of the establishment. At least the Republican National Committee believes I did.

I received a letter from Ed Gillespie. THE Ed Gillespie. Chairman of all the Republicans.

Beneath a red and blue logo, from Ed Gillespie himself, was my name and address. All typed neatly and correct. Ed-I assume I can call him Ed since he addressed me as “friend”-just wanted to thank me for all the help I’ve given the Republicans. The only thing I can remember ever giving the Republicans, which can be printed in a family newspaper, is a few bucks now and then for campaign buttons for my political collection.

“As a fellow citizen who believes in President Bush and his agenda for a strong, prosperous America,” Ed wrote, “I am honored to present you with the enclosed photograph.”

My heart beating as fast as a company planning to outsource its labor, I checked it out. 8-1/4-by-10-1/2. Full color. Glossy photo paper. President Bush sitting at his desk in the Oval Office. Pen in his right hand. Phone receiver precariously perched against his left ear. He was reading some important papers. At least I thought they were important papers. After all, what else would a President be reading? My first thought was that the liberals were wrong. The President can do more than one thing at a time. Would a picture from the RNC lie?

On the bottom of the picture, against a white border, was the President’s personal message. “To Walter Brasch,” it said in readable script type. “To Walter Brasch”! How much more personal can you get? But that wasn’t all. The personalized script even thanked me for my support for the RNC, then zeroed in on my contribution: “Grassroots leaders like you are the key to building a better, stronger, more secure future for our nation and all Americans.” Below all that was a blue signature, which might have said ‘George Bush.” It could also have said “Mickey Mouse.” A busy President often can’t write legibly, especially if he has to sign a million or so photos.

Ed said he hoped I “will display this personalized photograph of President Bush proudly as a symbol of your support for his positive vision of a better future for our country.” I was about to put a flag on my car and drive over to the nearby Wal-Mart and ask one of the $7 an hour part-time workers for a picture frame when my wife suggested it would be unpatriotic if I didn’t keep reading Ed’s message.

He wanted me to confirm I received the picture in good condition and send the “confirmation receipt” back to him personally in the postage-paid envelope. “It means a lot to me to know your picture arrived in good condition,” he stated. If the picture was damaged, all I had to do was check another box and I’d get another one! These Republicans really care about me and the quality of the postal service, I thought.

They also suggested I could support the President with “a contribution of $25, $35, $50, $100 or whatever.” For a few more paragraphs, my good buddy Ed told me about what the compassionate conservative President was doing for the country. With my support-MY support!-the President would be able to make the tax cuts permanent and give even more incentives to American business. He’d be able to “enact a comprehensive energy policy.” He’d even work “to strengthen homeland security.” Ed didn’t mention anything about Iraq or Afghanistan, the health crisis, environmental disasters, and the current state of free speech. But that’s probably because he only had a couple of pages to tell me that I needed to help the President. He said we needed to overcome “San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi.” San Francisco. Liberal. It almost seemed to be redundant.

“We must counter the Democrats by getting our message out past the liberal media echo chamber,” he pleaded. Definitely, I thought! We need to counter the liberal Fox network. And those billion dollar media conglomerates that spew infotainment all day. And that left leaning cabal of talk show hosts. I’d be honored to get rid of those liberal media.

Ed needed my $25. Or more. He needed it for that $4.1 million he said the RNC was trying to raise during the next three months. He didn’t mention that the President’s re-election campaign had already raised more than $185 million, but I’m sure the campaign needs every cent to make sure that no TV commercial spot gets left behind.

Three times he asked me to contribute. It’d be easy. I could return the “Confirmation Receipt Form,” the one that tells Ed I received the picture in good condition, and just send along a check or credit card information. I could even “have an immediate impact” by going on-line.

In one package from the RNC I received a two-page letter, a one-page confirmation, a picture suitable for framing, and a postage-paid envelope. The information the RNC sent me REALLY must have been important. That was three pieces of information more than the Presidential Daily Briefing in August 2001 that a strike by al-Qaeda against the United States was imminent.

WALT BRASCH’s latest book is Sex and the Single Beer Can (Feb. 2004), a witty and probing look at the nation’s media and entertainment industries. You may contact him through www.walterbrasch.com or at brasch@bloomu.edu.

 

Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail