As Americans waddled into the new century, overweight, overworked, and as self aware as a cloister of sea slugs -- so too arrived, affecting his bandy-legged, fake cowboy swagger, George W. Bush, to usher in this era of unquenchable, consumer craving and perpetual, martial emergency.
Currently, we watch as Bush vacillates between chest-puffing belligerence and jaw-gyrating fecklessness. Due to his hapless response to overwhelming events, some commentators have made comparisons to Jimmy Carter. Not true: Carter, as beset by tumult and contretemps as his administration was during the late 1970s, never resembled, as Bush does, a tweaked-out methhead in the throes of a full-blown Methamphetamine-induced psychosis.
There is little mystery as to why Bush is now beating a war drum, in time to that all-too-familiar election time, Rovian rag. Bush's handlers are desperate: Recent polls have revealed that suburban males, Republican women, southerners, and even Christian fundamentalists are starting to have misgivings about Bush. Why? One would guess: Since Bush has proven himself incapable of changing Iraqi blood into cheap, ever-available oil, this has caused, for a portion of his base, the sheen of beatitude to come off Jesus' earthly emissary.
Baffled, mortified, by what we've witnessed during these Bush-afflicted years, we ask ourselves: How did this come to be?
We may be unable to answer this question -- because we cannot lay all the blame upon Bush. Our nation's aura of insularity and hysteria was present long before Bush. Bush is merely emblematic of the depth of our collective denial regarding how cheaply we have sold ourselves to the exploitive corporate order and the concomitant unease engendered by this Faustian bargain.
But this fact alone will not effect change. One does not exactly have to be graced with extraordinary powers of perception to notice that Bush is a fraud. What is more difficult to apprehend is this: The emergence of Bush is not an anomaly. Bush is merely a symptom of the pathologies of corporate capitalism. He is not the disease.
Bush was packaged like any other corporate icon; accordingly, the war in Iraq was sold in the manner of any other corporate PR campaign. Bush is simply a product, designed by and marketed for the benefit of the elites of the corporate state.
Bush's manufactured image is a hack's construct of mythic American manhood: He was sold as an uncomplicated man of action -- a Christian cowboy redeemer -- a man who could kill evil-doers at fifty paces ... Just from a single whiff of his manly phenomenal musk -- our enemies would flee back to their caves and cower in abject terror ... Although events have shown, to appropriate an overheated metaphor from the Christian fundie, End Time lexicon, Bush is, in fact, closer to an Angel of Idiocy come with a Sword of Stupidity to reveal the rot of our corporate dystopia.
The sad and tragic circumstances of our time are much larger than Bush. Bush's grandiosity mirrors us, a people who have lost all sense of proportion. Look around: notice how huge and grotesque the objects and accoutrements of our age have become: colossal motor vehicles; the portions of food we crave; gaudy, land-devouring mcmansions; American consumer's enormous, sea-to-shining-sea asses. These things are manic compensations antecedent to the crash to come. Apropos, our SUVs, oversized pickup trucks, and hummers are no longer large enough to compensate for our feelings of powerlessness; our epic servings of food no longer serve to push down the sense of dread; we cannot find enough room in our mcmansions to hide away all of our anger, sorrow, and regret.
Mojo Nixon sang, "Everybody has a little Elvis in them." Nowadays, regrettably, we must sing: Everybody has far too much Bush in them. Internally, to one degree or another, we're all George W. Bush. Bush is the corporate state's dancing monkey -- as, to one degree or another, we all are. The corporate state necessitates that we become, like Bush, all puffed up phonies, in order to face a daily life ruled by its mandates -- as well as -- to compensate for our inner emptiness, borne of our internalization of it.
There is a feeling of flimsiness and haphazardness present in our daily lives here in the empire. Even the landscape before us has been inflicted with an ugly, ad hoc quality. The structures of our age evince a lack of substance. The shoddy, quick buck-snatching stripmall/big box store/fast food outlet, prefab nowhereland of the present day United States is reflective of our shoddy, quick buck-snatching leaders, who are, in turn, a reflection of us. We have come to dwell within this Architecture of Denial; we have come to call this House of Distorted Mirrors, our way of life.
As, all the while, the parallel narratives of compulsive consumerism and Christian End Time Mythology surround us.