June 28, 2004
George W. Bush's Seven Minutes of Inaction
by The Angry Liberal
I admit it. I spend too much time watching movies. If I spent less time in front of the screens (big and small), I could probably find time to write more than one or two columns a month. Be that as it may, I'd like to spend a minute discussing one of my favorite films, The Dead Zone. For those of you who haven't read the book or seen the film, I'm about to ruin the ending of a very good story. I'll let you stop reading here as long as you promise to a) either read the book or watch the movie, and b) vote for John Kerry in November. Deal? Good. See you next time.
For those of you still reading, you may remember the moment in the film's climactic scene in which senatorial candidate Greg Stillson (played by a young Martin Sheen) is being shot at by Johnny (Christopher Walken). In a panic, Stillson grabs a baby from the arms of a nearby parent and uses it as a shield, hoping that the shooter's sense of decency wouldn't allow him to fire at a baby, or to take the next bullet if it did. While Stillson isn't hit in the attack, we find out later that he commits suicide after a photo of him hiding behind the infant makes the cover of a national magazine and ends his political career. That glimpse of Stillson living an honest moment ruined any chance of his reaching public office.
In Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, we are treated to a similar moment during videotaped footage of George W. Bush taken on September 11, 2001. In this sequence, Bush, having just been told that a passenger plane struck one of the World Trade Center towers, enters a Florida classroom and begins reading "My Pet Goat" with a group of kids. At this point, you've got to be struck by the fact that, having been informed of an incident that at the very least involves the deaths of hundreds of airline passengers and tower employees, Bush decides to proceed with a cheap photo op staged to convince America that he's interested in education. But the kicker, the "Stillson Moment," comes a few minutes later. One of Bush's aides walks into the room and whispers to our fearless leader that a second plane has hit the other tower. At this instant, there is no doubt that America is under a large, coordinated terrorist attack. So what bold, decisive action does Bush take? None. He just sits there like a dumb sh*t. And he does so for almost seven minutes before he finally leaves the room.
Now, Bush is spending $200 million to convince Americans that he's a leader. That he's decisive. That he can and will take bold action in the face of a crisis. But thanks to the videotape shot on September 11, we know it's a lie. Fahrenheit 9/11 shows us what all the misleading advertising in the world couldn't cover up: When faced with a real emergency, George W. Bush, with nobody to tell him what to say or how to act, simply froze. For almost seven minutes on September 11, America was paying a $400,000 yearly salary to an ice sculpture. I dare any pundit, any handler, anybody who supports this loser to explain this away.
The game is up. In an era when this administration's policies have made America the most hated country on the planet, our very survival requires that we have a strong leader at the bridge. And Americans now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that George W. Bush is no leader. We have the videotape to prove it.
Having said that, I'm guessing the parallels between The Dead Zone and reality end here. I'm not writing this as a coded message to some nut who thinks he sees nuclear war in America's future under Bush, wants to take a shot at him to prevent it, and then wants to blame me later for suggesting it. We liberals don't solve our problems with guns, remember?
Nor am I comparing Stillson's revelation with Bush's. Finding out that one is a choker in the face of a national emergency is not the same as finding out that one would be willing to use a baby as a flak jacket. There's no shame in Bush discovering that he reacts to a crisis like a deer reacts to headlights. There is shame, however, in trying to pass himself off as a strong leader in the face of indisputable evidence to the contrary. I, for one, have heard enough lies from this administration.
As for Bush following Stillson's lead and ending it all over his exposure as a fraud, fear not, America. Taking that sort of action would be the hardest decision any of us would ever face. Need I say more?