After 9/11, many people in the United States responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with furor in the form of flag-waving at their homes, on the hoods of seemingly millions of cars, and in other highly visible places. Unfortunately, this unexamined patriotic frenzy led to a climate of hostility toward Muslim people and blind vindictiveness toward the people of the countries of the Mideast – and provided a willing ambiance for George W. Bush’s wars against Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Now, the long-awaited departure of George W. Bush from the presidential office is deserving of a symbolic gesture of farewell from the American people. The gesture ought to be one which will communicate that the stealing of the highest office, the declaration of arbitrary wars, the rewarding of cronies with multimillion-dollar contracts in the rebuilding of Iraq, the squandering of the nation’s wealth, the trampling of human rights, and the butchery of the English language as well as of logic, reason, and truth will never again be tolerated by the American people.
On a walk through Santa Fe’s downtown yesterday, I noticed an expensive shoe attached to a door. The message it communicated to me was immediate and powerful. I went in to reconfirm that my hunch was correct. Actually, according to the manager, the costly man’s shoe had been found on the street, and the business owners had attached it to the door in the hopes that its rightful owner might reclaim it. The one-heeled person never did. Nevertheless, the manager gave me an Obama pin and smiled, acknowledging as she did so that other people had similarly read into the symbolism: “Give Bush The Shoe.”
When I got home to Santa Cruz, I attached a shoe to my front door, and I will keep it there until the day of President-Elect Barak Obama’s inauguration January 20th. Shortly thereafter my first visitor asked me for its companion to tie onto the hood of his car and then rode off happily into history. By now, the shoes on my door and his car have become a movement.
Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice have stated in nationally-broadcast interviews that the press has been unjust regarding Bush’s legacy and that it will be a long, long time before the nation will get a balanced perspective of the “truth” of his legacy.
Let’s tell them that the verdict is out now — with the very visible signal of shoes attached everywhere to doors and mounted on the hoods of vehicles. Let there be no doubt that the Bush legacy has been a murderous disaster, and let not Americans be too quick to forget. Let’s give him the boot – or at least a shoe.
Send photographs of your shoe-hanging to CounterPunch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALEJANDRO LÓPEZ is a grass-roots educator, adobe-maker, muralist, and writer from Santa Cruz, New Mexico. He can be reached at email@example.com.