It was an odd dream: The Bush twins were ten feet tall and peering in my window. They were snickering. “We had a hamster too…” they were saying, as though it were the merriest of threats. They were too close, too manic, too happy. “Let’s just say that ours didn’t make it,” they concluded.
I woke up frightened, the sound of their ominous giggling trailing in my head.
This is a silly dream, I know. And in writing about it here, I have no wish to impute to the daughters my apprehensions about the father. But since the entire presidential campaign seems to be operating at the level of psychic symbols rather than material issues, I want to analyze it anyway. The dream captured precisely my fear of our iconic cowboy Commander in Chief, this Daddy Dearest who’s too much of a he-man to do more for a hamster than consider its fur-to-red-meat ratio before taking decisive action to put it out of its pain.
These past several weeks have left me worried about the status of all us herbivores–“salad-eaters,” we were called during the Republican National Convention. They have been so packed with horror that I am left giddy with raw anxiety about the future. The attack on the children in Beslan, Russia, embodied the extreme ideological intransigence that governs so much of the world: the barbarous Pied Pipers who rounded up all the children of that town and entombed them, on the one hand, and, on the other, the rigid, reckless determination of Russian authorities to attack rather than talk or “show weakness,” even when there were hundreds of little ones’ lives on the line.
Within the same few weeks, Mark Thatcher (Margaret’s son), and Simon Mann, founder of the band of corporate mercenary soldiers called Executive Outcomes, were indicted for trying to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. Meanwhile, newspapers in the European Union noted that US troops were being pulled out of Germany and many of them redeployed to Africa–with no publicity, it was observed. I have searched in vain for some corroboration of this in American newspapers.If true, it worries me, because so many of the world’s wars seem to be most heated along the path of hoped-for oil pipelines, and months ago, long before Colin Powell declared the war in Sudan to be genocide, there were news reports that Chad and Sudan would be the site of new pipelines designed to skirt the better-known hot spots in the Middle East.
Recently we memorialized the sad milestone of a thousand American soldiers killed in Iraq. Less remarked were the more quickly accumulating deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, the uptick in beheadings and the revelation of more abuses in Guantánamo Bay. More prominent were the crazy-making contradictions flowing from the White House: A vote for Kerry means that the terrorists will strike again. Vote for Bush because the terrorists are going to strike again anyway. A vote for Kerry means that the danger will increase. Vote for Bush because the danger is increasing all the time. Oh and by the way, we’ve never been safer.