George W. is the rodeo clown; we -- the American public -- are the bull. It came to me just this morning. Think about it: every time we're on the trail of scandal, every time we catch someone with his hands in the till, his fat, smiling mug posing for the photo op. next to some unacceptable dictator, despot, tyrant, terrorist or quotidian corruptoid, every time it looks like this time the sh*t's going to stick to Karl Rove or Trigger McCheney or Tom DeLayMeDownInStacksofCash, there's ol' George, waving his hands and running around in the Big Pants, distracting us from goring whomever so desperately deserves goring this time. (The original Gore distraction being the 2000 elections, of course). George does it well. He fails to get through a door, he chokes on a Mr. Salty and gives himself a black eye, he calls some woman a cupid stunt sotto voce and then claims he didn't, couldn't, wouldn't. He has that smile that 34% of us still mystically warm to and the rest of us want to see someone put a fist through. He's the rodeo clown with his fat, frat boy head at the bottom of the barrel, and his hilarious, o-so-distracting clown shoes sticking out the top. How appropriate an image for a "president" who has had his head in the dark places for the entire duration of his reign.
For awhile, I thought everyone else was supposed to be distracting us from noticing what an inept yodel was occupying the White House and decorating its walls with the deluxe 128-pack of Crayola™ crayons (with built-in sharpener that had to be removed to "ensure the president's safety"). How generous of the "president's" staff and advisors to throw themselves in front of the sword or under the guillotine by accepting large piles of illegitimately gotten dosh or shaking hands with some guy who still has suicide-bomber residue on his shoes and bits of innocent bystander in his pant cuffs. But I was wrong. Those guys, those politicians, those advisors and corporate executives were actually doing those things because that's what they normally do. It's just that they're usually sneakier about it.
But now, they don't have to be sneaky. Sneaky is no longer required. In a world where there is no accountability, no responsibility (beyond saying, "I take full responsibility" which is an entirely meaningless gesture), no consequences, and little public outcry (more a sort of outwhimper or outwhine), we are no longer at home to Mr. Sneaky. Now they just do the corrupt, mind-bogglingly immoral things they've always done right out there in the public eye with a big smile and a $1500 haircut. Why? Because they know they are cloaked in his shadow. They are hidden behind his song and dance, his tap shoes, his glittery suit, his Colgate (Watergate, Irangate) smile and jazz hands. As long as George does his "look over here, America!" and we continue to look, they can do what they like with impunity.
And George has big, scary, jazz hands. George has terrorism and 9/11 and BinLaden and most of the Middle East in his Big Pants. Whenever we start to grumble about the excesses of this administration, about how desperately Bush and his cronies are overreaching the legal limits of their power, George just reaches into his Big Pants and pulls out a terrorist, a suicide bomber, a nuclear weapon program that may or may not exist. He takes out nationalism thinly disguised as patriotism; he takes out racism, xenophobia, intolerance, ignorance and fear. This is a man of Very Big Pants.
But we need to remember that the bull has power. No matter how rigged the rodeo may be, no matter that we've been drugged senseless with fear mongering, no matter that our horns have been cut with the Patriot Act (the most cynically named piece of legislation ever) and we've been fed lies instead of truth; no matter that we've been dragged into this ring very much against our wishes, we still have power. We can still trample a cowboy or two, if we have the will.
Regardless of what political parties we ascribe to, regardless of what religious doctrine (or none) we adhere to, we can surely all agree that tolerance is better than intolerance, cooperation is better than turf wars; we can agree that truth and honor in government is better than being led by those at the bottom of the barrel. Government must be according to the will of the governed. Our “leaders” have forgotten that, so we need to once again take the lead. There are Congressional elections coming up in 2006; with the proper representatives back in the seats of Congress, we can reclaim the rodeo.