Friday, January 21, 2005

Seems to Me: Let's talk about protesters. The ones who shouted obscenities at Bush's inauguration, for example. Now it seems to me that protesting is a fine enough thing in theory, but it needs to be done with a modicum of thoughtfulness -- otherwise, you send the wrong message. To put it plainly, protesting the inauguration, I think, is equivalent to protesting democracy, or that democracy worked. The people have spoken, the president has been elected, and inauguration is what the constitutional process requires -- that we give the guy the job he won. You may like Dubya; you may not; you may think he's an evil, conniving bastard, fiddling around in the basement of the east wing with test tubes, trying to find a way to turn the blood of welfare chiselers into oil. Fair enough. But shut up for half an hour on January 20th, okay? Protest the man all you want, but yesterday was about the office, the institution. Have just a little bit of respect for that, enough respect to refrain, say, from shouting during the inauguration ceremony. Is it really too much to ask? Will democracy fall apart if we shut up and have a little f*cking decorum (sorry) for about twenty one and a half minutes?

I think not. (And I'm not suggesting we make a law, anyway. "Congress shall make no law . . . except when hairy chicks and dudes who need to bathe interrupt a solemn ceremony.") Let me analogize. It's like football: When a guy on the visiting team takes a serious hit, even the home crowd is supposed to cheer when he walks off the field. Folks, even Eagles fans do this (though not reliably, and they might still assault the guy after the game). Is this really so hard, to sit on your hands for one chilly afternoon, maybe just to thank god (or Wicca, or whatever you dig) that we have peaceful transitions of government, free elections, and another chance in four years to vote the bums out? Apparently, yes; the protesters, the chronically indignent, had to give us their version of cheering when the visiting QB takes a hit, and booing when he's able to walk off the field. They have to prove, all over again, the general crybaby nature of their political outlook: It's all about me, you see, and my guy should have won, see, and would have won if Americans weren't so stupid, corrupt, and bloodthirsty. Thus I will be the essence of the spoiler. If I can't have my way, I will ruin the occasion for everyone else

Look, few people can match me for disgust. You disgusted with Bush? Guess how I felt for 8 years of President Liar Phony Crook Shady Land Deal Cheatin' on the Old Lady Giving Missile Technology to the Chinese for Campaign Cash Clinton? But I still wouldn't have disrupted his inauguration. (Partly because that would make him look dignified, and me like a buffoon. And let me tell you, if you can make Clinton look dignified, you are a buffoon.)

If for no other reason, can we do this just to show that we still have some goddamn manners when it comes to the institutions of high office? I'm not asking anyone to respect the man. Just respect the process that still makes us unique among nations.

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