Thursday, September 02, 2004
September 3, 2004
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
Darn! I missed Your speech last night!
I bet You’re wondering why. All day I was a nervous wreck, waiting for that great moment when You would *string-strong into the theater-in-the-round and offer America Your BOLD NEW VISION for the next four years! I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work. I could hardly breathe!
And at last, the great moment was at hand: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: GEORGE W. BUSH!
And there You were! String-stronging onto a humongus presidential seal in the middle of Madison Square Garden! You even gave a little **smurkle!
And then the phone rang.
(Before I tell You who it was, isn’t there a law against standing on the presidential seal? I know you’re not supposed to stand on the flag.)
Anyway, I dashed to the phone and was about to say, “Whoever it is, call back!” but it was a recorded robot voice saying, “You have a collect call from...” Viola. “If you wish to accept the charges, say ‘Yes.’ If you do not wish to accept the charges, say ‘No.’ ”
That’s the trouble with recorded messages! There are no gray areas! I wanted to give a more “nuanced” answer like, “I really want to talk to you, but Our President is about to give the speech of His life and I’ve been waiting all week to hear Him, so the answer is yes, but not right now--could you call back a little later?” But the machine would only let me say “Yes” or “No.” So I said, “Yes.”
“Hi Carl. How’s it going?” she said.
“How’s it going?! Our President is starting His speech and...”
“Carl, I just got out of jail.”
“...I’ve been waiting all...Jail?!”
“That’s right, Carl,” Viola said. “The cops swooped in and scooped a bunch of us up with orange nets--sort of like tuna fishing. I was a by-catch.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “What were you doing? Were you throwing rocks or burning the flag?”
“No, you old fool! Didn’t you hear me? I was just minding my own business, holding my Bush Lied, People Died sign, and they scooped me up. The next thing I knew, my hands were cuffed behind me and I was being crammed into a 10 by 12 holding pen with forty other people.”
“Maybe you were cursing or spitting at the police?” I asked”
“As a matter of fact, I was handing them pink flowers. Anyway, they held me for 36 hours. Some people were held for longer. They wanted to make sure your president was done speaking before they let us go.”
“Maybe they thought you were somebody else.”
“And who would that be, Carl? Barbara Bush?”
(That’s your mother. Lately, everybody says You’re “blunt and stubborn,” just like her. They say You’re more like her than Your dad. I guess that’s why You don’t ask your dad for advice anymore. Here’s what you said:
“My dad understands that I am so better informed on many issues than he could possibly be that his advice is minimal.”
Talk about blunt and stubborn!
Speaking of your dad--this morning I heard that, in Your speech last night You gave Your dad credit for serving “at the side of another great American--Ronald Reagan.” That explains it! You’ve been going to Ronald Reagan for advice! Maybe now that he’s passed away, You can ask Your dad questions about little things every once in a while. Like: “Who should I bomb first--Syria or Iran?” Ask him! How could it hurt? It’ll make him feel good to be included!
Viola continued. “The holding pen had concrete floors and we were crammed in like sardines. There was nowhere to sit or lie down. We called it ‘Guantanamo on the Hudson.’ ”
“I heard about that,” I said. “Mayor Bloomberg said, ‘It's not Club Med; it's not supposed to be Club Med.’ ”
“Well, it just goes to show,” said Viola. “Even Michael Bloomberg gets it right once in a while. Did you also hear New York City got fined $1000 for every protester held more than 24 hours?”
“That money could’ve been spent on the war on terrorism,” I said.
Then Viola said, “Carl, I have a question: Do you want me to come home?”
“Do I want you to come home?!” I said. “What kind of question is that?!”
“Carl, I want you to listen very carefully,” she said. “If you want me to come home, do exactly as I say. Are you ready?”
“Of course,” I said. “But...”
“Go to the living room. On the mantle, there is a large, round candle. Do you see it?”
“Take the candle and a book of matches and go out to the front porch. Don’t say a word. Just tell me when you’re there.”
Mr. President, you’ve been married a long time too. You’ve probably learned just like I have, there are times you don’t ask questions.
I went out on the porch and I couldn’t believe my eyes! There were candles everywhere! It looked like Christmas! There was a crowd of people on the corner, all silently holding candles. There were candles in windows, candles on doorsteps. Even crusty old Mr. McGruder was out on his lawn, holding a candle. The neighborhood was so quiet, you could almost hear the candles burning.
“Carl? Are you still there?” Viola asked.
“Huh? Oh--right,” I whispered. “I’m here.”
“Ok, Carl. Listen carefully,” Viola said. “Light the candle. And as you light it: Think. Think about all the innocent men, women, and children throughout time who have suffered and died because humans went crazy and thought they had to go to war.
“Think about the thousands of mothers and fathers who are grieving tonight because their sons and daughters and husbands and wives and babies have been blown up in a war we didn’t need.
“Think about the year-long drumbeat of fear and lies that had nothing to do with making the world safe, and everything to do with power and greed.
“Think about the friendship and goodwill that was offered to us from every corner of the world.
“Think about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we had to finally make a world in which people worked together with honor and respect toward a common, peaceful cause. Think about how we spit in our friends’ faces and how the opportunity has died needlessly, along with the thousands of sons and daughters and husbands and wives and babies.
“Did you light the candle, Carl? Are you thinking?” she said.
“I lit the candle and I’m thinking, Viola.”
“Good. I’m coming home.”
My dear Viola will be home tonight. I’ve never wanted to see her more! I don’t even mind that she’s bringing a few friends with her. She met them at Guantanamo on the Hudson--they didn’t have anywhere else to go. Things are changing so fast, I can’t keep up. I guess you can relate.
Anyway, congratulations on Your big speech last night. I hear You hit it out of the park, telling everybody about Your BOLD NEW VISION FOR AMERICA and how the world’s a dangerous place and only You can make us safe and the Flip-Flopping Frenchman is unfit for service.
*String-strong--Do I have to tell You again?! It’s a cross between a strut and King Kong.
**Smurkle--I really wish You’d check my old letters so I don’t have to keep reminding You! Smurkle is a cross between a smirk and a chuckle.