"A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence." ~ Jean-Francois Revel
Dignity, Honor and 'Da Butt Dance'
(Warning: what follows may appear a bit risqu'. However it is not intended gratuitously. Rather, it is to illustrate a point about the capabilities of government.)
After eight years of Clintonian debauchery, the election of George W. Bush provided relief to many. How often have you heard that Our Great Christian President has brought 'dignity and honor' back to the Oval Office?
Meanwhile, out in the real world -- if Lower Manhattan can be called the real world -- nothing has changed. The New York Post recently carried a steamy story on the escapades of Jenna Bush, Dubya's daughter. According to the Post:
'VIDEOTAPE of Jenna Bush in very high spirits at a bachelorette party is being sold and could end up on national TV by the end of the week. Luckily for Jenna, the cameraman missed 'the high point . . . Jenna on all fours doing 'the butt dance' ' and doing it very well ' as guys were ogling her thong,' said our source. Club patrons do the suggestive dance when the deejay plays the 1988 hit 'Da Butt,' by E.U. The president's blond daughter arrived at NerveAna, a '90s-themed lounge on Varick Street, at 10:30 p.m. last Friday with several other pretty young things in a battered old blue minivan.'
Had this been the daughter of a Democratic president or pol, Rush Limbaugh would have more fun with it than a human being should be allowed to have. Bill Bennett would bloviate endlessly about how it signified the death throes of Western Civilization. But Jenna is one of the Bush twins ' you know, the same pair that got busted at the age of 19 for using fake ID to enter an Austin watering hole. Hence, her lascivious gyrations are a mere 'imperfection.'
A little over a year ago, someone wrote me stating that Dubya 'gently 'lifts the bar' of how we as Americans should behave'. To this I responded:
'Oh sure, GWB got off Olde Demon Rum years ago and probably has not looked at a woman other than Laura in years. However, a president ' any president ' is powerless to set the moral tone for the nation. GWB's own daughters have been busted for underage drinking. His niece has been caught possessing crack cocaine. His biggest supporter in the media is an admitted drug addict. The War on Drugs has been a positively monumental failure. We abort a million babies a year. Divorces are at an all-time high, even among Christians. Television, music and movies get filthier and filthier. Ozzy Osbourne is a guest at the Bush White House. Janet Jackson flashes her mammary on the most viewed television program on the planet. Christians are subject to more and more ridicule and harassment all the time. But don't worry: Our Great Leader is setting an irreproachable moral tone.'
In 1932, when delivering the first Royal Christmas Broadcast on the BBC, King George V coughed. The journal The Spectator said of this royal cough, 'A king who coughs is a fellow human being.' The antics of the current generation of British royals ought to leave no doubt that they are mere humans. The Bushes, who wield far more power over thee and me than Queen Elizabeth wields over the Brits, are, likewise, mere humans.
Consider Jenna's antics as outlined in the third paragraph of this essay. Do a Google search on Noelle Bush, Jeb's daughter and Dubya's niece. You'll find so many drug stories that you'll wonder if you hadn't done a search on Keith Richard. Consider that Mary Cheney, the vice president's daughter is openly lesbian.
Dubya is a fellow human. Nothing more and nothing less. He puts his pants on one leg at a time. He has no superhuman capabilities.
He can tax us into the pavement, disarm us, micromanage every aspect of our lives, have us imprisoned for an endless multitude of victimless acts and bomb the crap out of countries around the world.
But he cannot make us better people. His own record as a parent bears witness to this. Mind you, he is not the world's worst parent. He is just a parent. We cannot look to him to be our national parent.
If he has this little influence in his immediate sphere, how can he 'instill family values' in millions of households from Maine to Hawaii and from Key West to the Aleutians? Where does anyone get this idea?
Such is the nature of government. If the only thing you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. Just because your only tool is force does not mean that every wrong can be righted by force.
Finley Peter Dunne, a famous journalist and humorist in Chicago in the early part of the twentieth century, could turn a phrase with the best of them. He once commented that 'A man that would expect to train lobsters to fly in a year is called a lunatic; but a man that thinks men can be turned into angels by an election is a reformer and remains at large.'
'At large.' I love it! If you are delusional enough to believe that Dubya, or, for that matter, any president, can make us more righteous, wholesome, moral people, you do belong in the funny farm.