Last night, George Bush gave his fifth State of the Union Address. For those of you keeping score, this means we will only have to suffer two more from President Chuckles for the duration of our lives.
I watched the State of the Union, which like all the best comedies did not feature a laugh track, and I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was through the looking glass or something.
What follows is a brief series of entries, shoehorned into my increasingly busy day, in which I ruminate on what the State of our Union is. At least the state of the union as seen through the eyes of President Chuckles.
Let’s take this one to start. Can you make sense of the following statement?
“When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated; we love our freedom, and will fight to keep it.”*
This statement references a verse of the Bible, Matthew 5:5 of the King James Version specifically. The original statement “And the meek shall inherit the earth,” is said to have been spoken by Christ himself, and is part of a list of rewards that the long sufferers, the powerless, the oppressed, and the subservient will receive in time if they continue to live their lives under the heel of anyone who wants to tread on them. It’s sort of like an investment. Shut up and take it for now, and then you get to have a reward, a great big reward, at an unspecified time long in the future. Christ was never really one to paint himself into a corner by attaching dates to any of his most fanciful oratory.
This List of rewards, sometimes referred to as the Beatitudes, is found in the most famous of Christ’s recorded speeches, the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount is sort of like Christ’s “I Have a Dream” or “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall,” or “Ask not what your country can do for you.” And just like those modern examples the words are often ripped from context and forced to mean anything that the person quoting them wants them to mean.
Now the premise of Christ’s statement (or put it another way, the Original Intent of the speaker) was to quell violent revolution and ease suffering with the promise of something better in the future. The Romans, a brutal occupying force, had the region under tight control and the historical record indicates that Pontius Pilot, the Governor of the region where Christ wandered and taught, was among the most blood thirsty despots ever to wield executive power, no matter how timidly Mel Gibson chooses to portray him.
So, by evoking the Beatitudes it is possible that President Chuckles intended only to threaten the Iraqi people in a straight up, one for one, allegorical way. We are the occupying force so we are the Romans. Rummsfeld is clearly the Pilot figure with is blatant disregard for the people he’s occupying as evidenced by the staggering number of Iraqi casualties and all the depleted uranium he’s left littering the Iraqi landscape. President Chuckles would clearly be Jesus, a stretch for most of us, but one gets the impression it’s not a difficult leap for the president to make in his own mind.
“Oppressed and unemployed people whom I have overlooked for jobs rebuilding your country in favor of sweetheart deals for U.S. companies hear me! Stay meek, mother fuckers, because I ‘will fight to keep’ what I took from you!”
But I don’t believe President Chuckles is capable of that level of sophistication. He’s made political hay from the fact that he’s incapable of comprehending nuance. I think it’s just a tortured sentence that was designed to be code for “I am in the Religious Right!” which could be interpreted by the religious right by would pass by the rest of us. In the end it produced a sentence that makes no sense.
We are meek. We deserve to inherit the Earth. If you try to take the Earth from us we will fight like hell to crush you. Meekly.
Think about it. Under President Chuckles statement shouldn’t we be rolling over every time Osama kicks our ass and just permitting him to run roughshod over us?
Read it again. “When they murder children at a school in Beslan, or blow up commuters in London, or behead a bound captive, the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated; we love our freedom, and will fight to keep it.”*
The terrorists try to subvert the natural way permitting the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated and to prove how fundamentally flawed their thinking was we’re going to be even more violent than them to prove that the violent do not and can never inherit the Earth!
If you voted for President Chuckles--either time--you ought to be meekly forced at gunpoint to kick your own ass until that statement makes sense.
* 152 Cong. Rec. H15 (daily ed. Jan. 31, 2006) (The State of the Union Address by the President of the United States).