Many of you who read this will remember a minor incident involving Poppy Bush that occurred during his presidency. Bush visited the checkout line of a grocery store and marveled at the scanner that priced the goods. I do not recall the reason for Bush’s visit to the grocery store. Like any good king, I suppose he felt the impulse to see how the poor folk live. Perhaps he sought to enrich their miserable lives by moving among them for a few moments. In that awkward moment it was clear that Bush and his ilk in America’s ruling class had no clue about the lives of ordinary working people.
Unlike most of us, the Bush’s do not have to buy food from grocery stores. They do not have to stand in long lines at checkout counters like us. They have servants who do life’s mundane chores for them. They are better than us and have to live by other creeds than we do. Why should a ruler have to be subjected to such banal affairs? Their time is more valuable than ours. They have sovereign nations to invade-fortunes to be made. There is golf to be played; wealthy friends to be entertained. Their clean, white, grasping hands cannot be soiled with the flesh and banalities of ordinary people like you and I. Life among the gods does not allow descent into the joyless lives of the multitudes very often. The minds of the rich and powerful cannot be sullied with the trivial. It’s not easy being King.
But that was long ago. Times have changed. The Supreme Court and Diebold have planted a new Bush in the White House and it has born new fruit. Now we have the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that recently devastated the Gulf Coast. Among the areas hardest hit by Katrina was the city of New Orleans, whose population is, or was, seventy percent black.
In the prelude to Hurricane Katrina, the people of means were evacuated to areas of safety. Only the poor-those without means-were left to suffer and die horribly in the rising flood waters of Katrina. The body count is rising as the flood waters gradually recede. Upwards of ten thousand dead appears likely. We may never know with any degree of certainty.
But all is not bleak. Thank goodness we had George Bush, silver spoon in hand, to look after the safety of the nation’s working poor. No doubt, the plight of these people, most of them people of color, weighed heavily upon his mind during his five week vacation in Crawford, Texas, while those vicious peace mongers protested outside the ranch. No doubt, the victims of Katrina troubled him deeply as he endured eighteen grueling rounds of golf in Arizona, while the flood waters washed away the lives and possessions of the poor. We are fortunate to have such a wise, humble, and empathetic president. The people of Bangladesh probably are not nearly as fortunate as those lucky people who once lived along the Gulf Coast. It’s not easy being King.
Mr. Bush, like all great leaders with high moral integrity, had the foresight to surround himself with people no less caring and empathetic to the plight of others than himself. An example of the Bush regime’s rigorous screening process is the head of FEMA, Michael Brown. Mr. Brown’s extensive experience at helping the victim’s of natural disasters are revealed in his qualifications for the job. This is why things have gone so well. As Americans, we can all be proud of Mr. Brown’s many years of experience of working with Arabian Horses. What could have prepared him better for this Herculean task of saving the lives of poor Americans in the wake of Katrina?
The caring does not stop there. While Mr. Bush was playing golf in Arizona, Secretary of State Condi Rice was on the case. While she was unable to be in the vicinity of the dead and dying due to more pressing engagements, no doubt the plight of these working folk weighed heavily upon her beautiful mind. She was shopping for one thousand dollar pairs of shoes in New York and looking for shows to attend. What does one wear to a flood, anyway? It is an important question; and there are no easy answers. Personally, I think you cannot go wrong with Gucci.
Thankfully, there was Dick Cheney, a man who has always represented the interest of the poor and disenfranchised. Without his careful tutelage, Halliburton, Brown and Root, would not be what they are today. All of the billionaires would have remained mere millionaires if not for the selfless efforts of Mr. Cheney. Where was Dick during the carnage? No one seems to know for certain. Theories abound. Reports have emerged that he was sucking the blood out of corpses in Iraq, like any good Turkey Vulture would do. Has anyone but me noticed that Mr. Cheney bears a striking physical resemblance to this scavenger? But I do not wish to denigrate this noble bird with comparisons to the Vice President. Fortunately, Dick got his friends and colleagues at Halliburton contracts to help with the cleanup. They have done such a fine job in Iraq and Afghanistan at keeping costs down while plundering and stealing the resources of once sovereign nations that they were an obvious choice for the job. Who is better qualified to help the people of the Gulf Coast than Dick Cheney and his buddies at Halliburton? It makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it? Where is my flag? Where are my Support Halliburton bumper stickers? Let us show our support for the good people who are looking after the welfare of our nation. Strike up a chorus of ‘God Bless America’ and ‘Stars and Stripes Forever.’ Where are my dancing shoes?
Then there was Barbara Bush, little George’s mom, whose breasts were swollen with pride at what a fine job her son is doing for the people whose lives have been turned upside down by Katrina. Of course, many of them are no longer alive; but that hardly matters. George has his eye on a shiny new set of golf clubs. A momentous decision has to be made before the next round of golf erupts somewhere in the deserts of America. The pressures of the job are enormous. But George has the Bush family tradition of empathy for the poor to uphold. Mrs. Bush, bless her wise, empathetic soul, observed that the refugees from Katrina didn’t have anything to begin with. So they were happy to live in the filth and squalor, not to mention the crime, of the failing Houston Astrodome. Watching televised news coverage of the event, those people lucky enough to have survived the hurricane could hardly contain their glee at their good fortune. They are so happy that they will probably settle down in the Houston Area in order to be nearer the Bush family. It was more than generous of Mrs. Bush to take time from her busy social calendar to lift the spirits of all those poor folk. But that is what the Bush family has always done. Just look at the record. It speaks for itself.
I realize that some ungrateful people would think these great Americans-the ruling elite-do not care about the multitudes. Someone has to set the record straight. It is my hope that this brief look into the actions of these great Americans will dispel such myths and bring them all of the respect and praise they so richly deserve. Jesus will be so happy. Can’t you just feel the love? It’s not easy being King.
CHARLES SULLIVAN is a furniture maker, photographer, and free lance writer living in the eastern panhandle of geopolitical West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Only the civil need respond.