Dubya does Fathers' Day for battered spouses

Expanded from the 6-25-2004 Comstock Chronicle

Emily Dickinson, the greatest American poet and arguably the best who's ever been, once wondered "was it not he who suffered?"

Careful readers understand that the Belle of Amherst referred to Jesus of Nazareth. Had we not been sold the proposition that the carpenter suffered and died for our sins? Why, then, should those redeemed live in misery?

The crucifixion has been the source of a two-thousand-year guilt trip. The idea that suffering is good has been hard-wired into the western psyche as a way to bond with our man-king-redeemer-god. Preachers still profit by exploiting this I.O.U. mentality.

How else to explain the 10,000 sufferers who showed up to Shallow Hal's tent show at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center last week?

Infidels were not granted communion into the holy of holies. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that three teens had their tickets torn up because one wore an anti-Bush sticker. Only true believers were allowed among the 10,000 maniacs.

The elephantine faithful were packed like sardines in a concrete and steel can. Some fainted. Bathroom breaks required Secret Service escort. Suffering was the order of the day.

Sensitive as always, Bush the Lesser immediately patronized the fully-packed by saying "I always like being in a place where the cowboy hats outnumber the ties."


Maybe at the Livestock Events Center during rodeo week. I watched part of the live TV coverage and subsequent news and saw nary a Stetson.

Right off the bat, His Accidency the President of the United States had patronized the crowd as a bunch of hicks out of an old cowboy movie.

Perhaps it was another clumsy attempt to rip off Ronald Reagan's act.

The accidental president has apparently become adept at reading his audience because no one appeared to recognize the contempt in the joke.

If it hurt, so much the better. When he hurts us, we know he needs us.

How else to explain the American citizenry of today other than as a battered spouse? Co-dependency are us.

We are victims of an arranged marriage forced upon us by five Neanderthal judges. Little wonder, then, that our spouse feels free to punch at will. We are his property and divorce proceedings are problematic. Reagan and Nixon both deserved and artfully avoided impeachment for documented high crimes and misdemeanors. The Elmer Gantrys who controlled the congress during Bill Clinton's years were not as shy as their Democratic predecessors.

Some who showed up last week admitted to doing so because it was a chance to see the president hisself. "I feel like I'm part of history" said one breathless ingenue.

In our celebrity-driven society, all that matters is getting famous. Your conduct can range from Charles Manson to Mother Theresa. Either way, you get a book deal.

Bush, like his vice-president and the rest of his fellow travelers, continues to spout the now-familiar lies and innuendoes about Saddam and Osama working together to knock down the World Trade Center. Repeat a lie often enough and people believe it.

Apparently half the electorate does. After all, he's the president, so he must know better than us of the great unwashed. Even John McCain endorsed the big lie and participated in a P.R. spin of the lasso for the Texas two-stepper. People expect stars to perform their greatest hits at every concert.

So Dubya's taxpayer-financed traveling salvation show blew through town and he heard nary a discouraging word out here where the deer and the antelope play.

I hope those who attended scraped their cowboy boots before leaving the room.

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Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 35-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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