On my way to Jesus’ Ice House to meet Bubba for the first presidential debate between George Bush and John Kerry I became ensnarled in a dead stop traffic jam. Living between two lakes meant at least a half hour roundabout trip to my date which was less than a mile head. I got out and stood on the hood of the car to see what could be seen. A block ahead were lots of bustling police cars, crime tape and a swat team van blocking off the road in front of an apartment complex. A small crowd of pedestrians where being shooed back to their cars by angry officers. The word was a man had hostages and was shooting at police with his Texas sized arsenal. Being a Thursday, this was unusual as these situations happened mostly on Mondays and Fridays. So I had no choice but to go around the lake.
Listening to the debate on the radio was an ear opener. I am sure I was not the only one who thought I may have honed in to a local university station listening to some professor trying to communicate with a monkey. About halfway through when I pulled into the ice house, I realized it wasn’t even live, but a vinyl recording that was skipping; mixed messages… mixed message… mixed messages, no wavering, no wavering, no wavering.
I approached Bubba and Okra who were sitting at a table far more subdued than they had been during the GOP convention. Bush was speaking so I was shushed and signaled to sit down. I watched to see if it was any different from the radio. It was more evenhanded, for one could actually see that it was two men rather than a man talking to a monkey. On the screen was a tall man standing upright behind his podium speaking clearly, on the other was the President listening. He had his back arched holding the podium wearing a rather angry looking smirk. These unfair long shots of the President listening, made him look like the monkey so many political cartoonists portray him as, something he just cannot help.
When the debate moved to the complicated matters of Korea, I noticed my friends lost interest, so I took the opportunity to comment that the President sounded like a monkey on the radio. Okra became highly agitated, calling me a bigot and a racist. I complained that was a bit unfair, suggesting that perhaps a monkiest or a Georgist was more appropriate. She gave me the shoulder and went back to nodding in agreement every time the President repeated the words MIXED MESSAGES, or HARD JOB. I realized that HARD JOB was the new conservatively correct word for dealing with bombings, beheadings, and lots and lots of dead bodies.
When the debate was over I could tell who won by the subdued responses from Bubba and Okra, there was no heart to the claim their man had won. As I had been late I asked them both to stay a while so we could discuss the actual content rather than all the monkey business, for I had been pleasantly surprised that the debate hit the nail on the head over matters of terror and war.
I first explained President’s clear position. That he is not about bringing the 911 terrorists to justice, but to win a War on Terror. That to do so, it is most central we had a pre-emptive war on both Iraq and Afghanistan, and that we must hold to a long term presence. That he and God are on the offensive to change the hearts and minds of a billion people to our way of thinking. That the American concepts of freedom and democracy will have to replace what the vast majority of Islam’s want; jobs, a little supper, not seeing their sisters in a mini dress and most importantly, getting our ass out of their house. That nations united, alliances, world views and global tests are for wilters and waverers. That those who disagree with the President’s war are not only bad Americans, but out to destroy Exxon Mobile, Halliburton and our Security Moms.
Surprisingly, neither of my friends argued the point. They agreed, that indeed I had the issue correct and all good Americans understood that was the good and right thing to do. I then explained the Senator’s clear position. That its the wrong war at the wrong time for the wrong reasons, but because of the failed leadership that got us there, we must now win this thing as quickly as possible and get the hell out of there. To do so we must win back our reputation around the world that President Bush has so haughtily destroyed. We must schedule summits, forge alliances and pass the global test of doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. And the best way to do that is with John Kerry and a new group of people to replace those who got us into this unmixed and unwavering mess.
Unsurprisingly, this was met by Bubba playing the big frog and Okra the little frog, in an ice house song of ribit-ribit. They soon moved it North of France to the Godless suicide prone heroin addicts of Scandinavian, and their damn foreign beer in those silly green bottles. When I retorted that the beer is not foreign to them, I was met with hehaws of how I just don’t get it.
On the ride home I thought about the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam. A President’s mostly personal war based on a lie. How it tore this nation apart, and how blind patriotism kept it going until we finally reached our limit at 2 million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans dead. Sadly if history is any judge, we have 56,980 to go before we wake up.