copyright © 2004 Todd Ristau


An Archie Levine Piece by Todd Wm. Ristau

(News Theme Music and lights up on a man in a suit seated at a desk, music out. To be performed as an angry rant in the style of Lewis Black or Andy Rooney after being kept in a cage for a week fed only Mexican food and tequila.) Hey.

My name is Archie Levine, and THIS is what I think.

I think there's a fair to midling chance that by November 2nd my head will explode!

Have you watched this president speak live and un-cut? Have you seen a press conference where he actually takes questions? You know, like the one where he yelled at a reporter for asking a question that hadn't been submitted in advance and in writing.

What was that question?

"After 9/11, what do you think has been your biggest mistake?"

He couldn't think of one.

He couldn't think of ONE MISTAKE in almost FOUR YEARS!

I could understand having trouble PICKING one, but he couldn't THINK of one!!!

AT ALL!!!!

It boggles the these speeches and extremely infrequent press conferences, George Bush always repeats himself and clarifies points that don't really need clarification. It drives me insane.

He'll say something like...I don't know..."My job is to keep America secure." Then he'll say, "That's my job." But he doesn't stop. He'll go on like, "Look, a job is where someone expects you to do something, and you've agreed to do it. See, it's a fee for service. So, when you have a job, you provide a service and then you get paid. And you keep coming to work because you want to keep getting paid. You have to undertand, it is a really simple arrangement between an employer and an employee. That's me, I'm your employee, and you've hired me to keep you safe and I'm going to work my ass off to do it so I don't get fired. See, you can fire me, if you're dissatisfied with the job I'm doing. The job of protecting you from Terrorists."

Do you know what I mean? It's like he thinks he has to dumb it down because he doesn't trust us to understand all that big important stuff he does at work.

For nearly four years now, I thought he thought you and I were the idiots...but I was wrong.

Unlike George, I can recognize a mistake when I make one, and I can admit it.

Last week, Andy Card cleared up the whole thing in a way that finally made everything make perfect sense. Andy said the president sees America as a child needing a parent. Well, probably two parents, though if he means him and Cheney he's already violating that Constitutional amendment he's pushing for. But, then again, like most parents, he and his life partner co-parent are always going to disagree on a few things here and there.

It doesn't mean the marriage is on the rocks, just that they're healthy, human, and alive.

I know, nothing is as dangerous as an over extended metaphor, but stay with me here...

Did your parents ever admit to making a mistake? Mine sure didn't.

Not because they were arrogant, or because they didn't know they made them...but because admitting fallibility would be bad for the kids...

When your parents were too lazy or embarrassed to teach you moral lessons, did they rely on their church or some other faith based organization to do it? Mine sure did.

When you mouthed off to your parents, criticize them in any way, or try to question their authority over you did they slap the shit out of you and lock you in a closet the neighbors couldn't see? Mine sure did.

Did your parents ever say "trust us" or "because I said so" or "someday you'll thank me for this" the whole time they were making you standing fully clothed in the shower and washing your mouth out with soap? Mine sure did.

How about the way your parents cut your allowance while they gave you more chores to do and made you work longer hours doing them?

And what about that whole enema thing as a panacea for every illness you complained about so you eventually just stopped complaining about being sick rather than suffer that kind of indignity?

That's what my parents did.

I bet yours did, too.

My parents were secretive, condescending, snide, cruel, and never for a second let me forget how much power they had over me or how much worse my life would be if they weren't my parents....

And look how I turned out!

But you know, my childhood wasn't all bad...there were good times that I cherish...

(sighs) Gosh, I sure miss that closet.

It was so safe and so dark...


AUTHOR'S NOTES: This piece was inspired by, apart from my rage at Bush, my rage at reading PRESIDENT AS PROTECTOR: Card says president sees America as a child needing a parent, by Sarah Schweitzer, Boston Globe, September 2, 2004.

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