|By A.D. Freudenheim||
4 July 2005
Imagine you went to the hardware store, and you bought 56 square feet of plywood, cut into six 3 x 3 squares. At home, you stained the wood a deep and rich mahogany tone, let it dry, and then using a hammer and nails attached five of the six pieces to create a cube with one open side; using metal brackets, you reinforced each of the corners of the box. Once you were finished with this, you put into the box a selection of permanent markers. Then you called your friends and had them come over and hammer into place the final side of the cube with you inside and then, using the four leftover brackets, also reinforce the corners to make it firm and secure.
Congratulations, you are now in a box.
Perhaps now you will be better able to understand President George W. Bush, whose view of the world is severely constrained by the box in which he has placed himself: the only understanding he has of the environment around him is what he draws on the inside of his box with those permanent and unchanging markers. He cannot see the actions and evolutions that take place around him and, as importantly, he is content not to have to watch. In fact, President Bush finds it easier this way; within the box, everything exists only as he draws it, and therefore he never needs to consider changing course.
It is, however, a horrible way to make decisions.
Unfortunately for Americans, and the rest of the world, the box that Mr. Bush presently occupies is somewhat larger than this 3 x 3 x 3 plywood cube. Remarkably, even though Mr. Bushs real box has windows, computers, telephone lines, many doors, and a great number of people moving in and out ... Mr. Bush nonetheless manages to ensure that he and his friends are effectively insulated from the reality of the outside world. Moreover, his tone-deaf statements to the contrary are less than effective precisely because he has been (and remains) so cloistered, so sheltered.
When, during his second campaign for President, George H. W. Bush went to a supermarket and it was revealed to the world that the man in the White House did not know the price of basic household groceries, the American public was shocked but not outraged. After all, this was a man who had already held the nations second-highest elected office for 8 years in addition to his own term as President; a certain removal from the everyday might be expected.
For President Bush Jr., however, no such grace period applies. The issues about which this current President ensures his administrations ignorance (or, at least, ardent denial) are matters of state and security, reflections of how much he refuses to understand about the two wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) into which he has lead the American people much as Mr. Bush chooses to ignore information about the health and growth of the American economy, or the citizens feedback on his ill-conceived plan to fix Social Security, or ... any of the other issues current facing America and about which Mr. Bushs unwavering beliefs do not match the perspectives of the rest of the world.
None of us, however, should be surprised by the words, actions, and beliefs of our President; his deeds match quite well with his own understanding of the box that houses him. It is this inescapable and unwavering sense that Mr. Bush believes himself to be guided by god that he is doing gods will, and following in a righteous and godly path that should be most troubling of all. But, again, not surprising, for, as much as we might think this box is called the White House (the traditional home of American presidents), Mr. Bushs box seems to be something wholly different: most people call it church, that great home of irrational, intangible, and rarely-changing beliefs.
Copyright 2005, by A.D. Freudenheim.
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This page is part of: The Truth As I See It.