Big Bridge #10

An Open Letter to America


Danny Shot


Plausible Deniability

I had a hard time explaining President Clinton to my children.
But I cannot explain George W. Bush at all,
so my children try to explain it to me.

“He’s an idiot, don’t you see? He might be
the stupidest man alive.”

“Nah Levi, he’s not that stupid,
he just pretends. He was smart
enough to get elected.”

“He wasn’t elected. You know that Dad,”
15 year old Casey reminds me.

“I know, but almost 50 percent
of America did vote Republican.
I can’t believe anyone voted for him.

“Almost half the people in this country
are idiots. You got to face the facts.”

I notice that the timbre of his voice
is deeper than mine though it seems
only yesterday he was just a baby
and the Senior Bush was doing his dirty work
and I silently wish him a Bush free future,
and a free nation more brainy and kind.  
I feel bad that my teenage son
is more jaded than I am.
Somehow it feels like bad parenting.
At least I have a long history
of backing the losers. What
does he know about bitterness?

“No it’s not like that Casey, people
are just frightened and ill informed.”

Casey rolls his eyes: “Whatever.”

Sometimes I’ll get a rhetorical question,
usually from Levi: “Dad, does Hoboken
have a village idiot?” or “If you screwed
up at work as much as the president,
would you get fired?”

Casey is often more philosophical: “I think
Bush went after Saddam Hussein instead
of Osama bin Laden because he messed with his father.”

Levi, the good younger son let’s me know
where he stands: “If anyone messed
with you Dad, I’d go after him.”

I play along: “Thanks kid.”

At times Casey and Levi try to cheer me up:
“Don’t look so worried, he won’t win.
Everyone at school is for John Kerry.”

But I am worried. I don’t believe we
as a people are idiots, but I do believe
we are scared. I have never felt so
out of touch with the rest of America
as I have these past 4 years.
I don’t think I know 5 living Republicans
yet polls show Bush Jr. with the lead
even though he’s done a wretched job
and virtually no one is better off than
they were before. With Bush the bar
has been set so low, it must be an accident
of history as to why this embodiment
of mediocrity might triumph again.
It’s just something I can’t explain.

“Don’t worry Dad, Bush won’t win.”
“Don’t worry son, we won’t let you down.”

II.  (3 weeks later)

“Dad, how could he win again? How can people be so stupid?”
“I don’t know,”

“John Kerry seemed more like the President
in the debates. Kerry won the debates, right?”
“I don’t know.”

“Do you think Bush cheated?”
“I don’t know.”

“How can poor people vote Republican?
Do they like helping the rich get richer?”
“I  don’t know.”

“If I got drafted, what would you do?”
“I don’t know.”

“Are people in the Red States scared?”
“I don’t know.”

“Are people in the Blue States scared?”
“I don’t know.”

“Do you think SpongeBob is gay?”
“I don’t know.”

“Why are people stupid, scared, and hateful?”