Prey for Our Leaders

Set ‘em up, knock ‘em down, George.

You simply lied. We still don’t know the real State of the Union, we just know what you told us. Which isn’t much.

“Federal spending should not rise any faster than the paychecks of American families”

Beg pardon? How much has spending risen under your watch? How much has my paycheck risen?

“Tonight, let us bring to all Americans who struggle with drug addiction this message of hope: The miracle of recovery is possible, and it could be you.”

Recovery is not a miracle; it’s hard work by a person to recover. Don’t trivialize the efforts of those who worked so hard to get better.

“Tonight I’m proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles.”

I know you, like, own the entire government, George, but I don’t think that endows you with the powers to change the laws of physics. Producing hydrogen fuel is costly and does produce pollution. And why hydrogen? There are other cleaner solutions. Hmmmm, do you have friends who stand to make a ton of cash if hydrogen is the fuel of choice? Where is your $1.2B going?

[15 lines on AIDS]

Apparently, gays aren’t a high-risk group anymore, George? Gee, thanks! Condoms be gone!

•••

Quite a speech last night, huh? Except the above quotes weren’t from it. They were from 2003. How’s he done in 2 years?

This year was SOOO much better:

“My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do not fulfill essential priorities. The principle here is clear: A taxpayer dollar must be spent wisely, or not at all.”

Is this the end of No Straight Child Left Behind, then?

“It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists.”

In other words, come and do our shit jobs, pay taxes, but don’t expect to be represented or protected in any way at all.

“During the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the way benefits are calculated.
All these ideas are on the table. I know that none of these reforms would be easy. But we have to move ahead with courage and honesty, because our children’s retirement security is more important than partisan politics. I will work with members of Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms.

In other words, let’s assign Democratic names to the hard choices, and then offer nothing of our own.

”Here is why personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security.“

Will you provide a guarantee that the money will not dwindle, George? If so, will you cover my investments in Enron and Worldcom, too? I mean, like, your Daddy did for S&Ls…

”Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be redefined by activist judges. For the good of families, children and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.“

Coward. Say it. C’mon, say it! As Martin Luther once said, ”Sin bravely.“ C’mon, George. You’re stuck, aren’t you? Hate to say the word ‘gay’ because it gives the reality airtime, but then again, how can you really hate something unless you slap a label on it first? At least the crazy crackers of the religio-republican blogosphere boldly state their hate. Can you do any less?

”The Constitution also gives the Senate a responsibility: Every judicial nominee deserves an up or down vote. Because one of the deepest values of our country is compassion, we must never turn away from any citizen who feels isolated from the opportunities of America.“

Oh, Pinocchio…

”Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of that disease.
And as we update this important law, we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases, African-American men and women.“

Again, no gays? What are you really saying, George? That only white people deserve the luxury of the occasional D.L.?

”In America we must make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit, so we are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction.“

Translation: we kill people in TX and boy is there egg on our faces when we’re wrong!

”The United States has no right, no desire and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one of the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to impose and expand an empire of oppression, in which a tiny group of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every life.“

Say it with me: Democracy for Islam!

”Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens and reflect their own cultures. And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace.“

…and democracies that are placed instead of gradually grown are so much easier to attach marionette strings to…

”Today, Iran remains the world’s primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing, and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.“

I always wondered what sound was made by that first shoe dropping.

”And the whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people.“

This one may come back to bite you on the ass, George.

”The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom’s power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: to extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings.“

Extending the promise of freedom, not freedom itself. And the check’s in the mail. And I promise I won’t come in your mouth.

•••

I grew up never understanding that saying what was on your mind was anything other than the default. I never really knew what it meant to be materially injured for having one belief or another (well, except for how the Catholics in my church and the Protestants elsewhere treated Madeleine Murray O’Hare). I credit the ideals of the United States for that. But in reality, it was a straight white suburban cocoon, sequestered away from the reality of living.

Being a gay white male gives one an interesting and rare perspective: the personal experience of having been on both sides of the straight-white-male privilege. Credible discrimination is something that straight white men have never understood, and virtual freedom from discrimination is something that the vast majority non-white and/or non-male persons cannot claim.

It’s exactly why so many gays take so long to come out of the closet; it’s exactly why virulently christian gay men will turn to snake oil for lube salvation.

That straight-white-male privilege knows no class or economic boundaries. Bubbamerica and Pacific Heights both enjoy it. Still-closeted gay men can see how gays are discriminated against through natural empathy and who the hell would want that?

George is one of those straight-white-men who will do as he pleases, not because he doesn’t care that he’s hurting so many of us, but because he can’t possibly understand the kinds of hurt he dishes out.

He’ll never know those who are not like him. He’s a hunter. Other-than-hunter is just prey.