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Odd Signs
poetry, short stories and opinions
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by Gae Rusk

I just reached enlightenment: if it is true we are shaped in our childhoods by the larger world impacting our parents, then I suddenly understand George Bush.

George's childhood happened in the early 1950s amid an era of surging federal growth, with nationalism fertilizing postwar politics. Mini-tsars, like McCarthy and Hoover, rose to power like turds on a warm lake.

As young as I was, I do remember those two men. I remember their images making the adults around me shift moods from easy to uneasy. Even as a toddler, I sensed my adults grow anxious because of men like them.

So, my theory here is, the adults in George's young life were not upset by McCarthy and Hoover. Maybe young George saw his adults liking the behavior of those two men. Maybe George's adults benefited from the pogrom of McCarthy and amorality of Hoover. I don't know, and I could be wrong, but this theory explains why a grown up George is trying to re-create that heinous era.

Problem is, by doing this, George has led us backward to a pre-Bill of Rights United States. He claims it is OK for him to spy on anyone, anytime, for any reason. He claims it is OK to expose classified info at will to get his way, even if the info is suspect and his way is violent. After all, that's what successful grownups did to run the USA during his early, most impressionable years. That's George's baseline political experience.

I whined last night to my 22 year old son about this turn of events, how improbable it all seems to have a president do, say and cause such things. That's when my son pointed out history has recorded numerous bad leaders who destroyed the best of nations, some by accident and some on purpose, happens all the time. Countries implode all the time. Empires collapse all the time. I should re-read history, he advised.

Oh, yeah. I keep forgetting. I keep thinking it couldn't possibly happen to us in the US. I keep thinking America is immune from sliding down the drain of history and lodging forever in its cautionary effluvia.

I despair. No, I re-despair. I am reliving a past that traumatized my adults, and now I am the traumatized adult for the very same reason.

Now that I grok the subtext for your behavior, George, I know what you are doing, whether you realize it or not, so shame on you. Didn't you take even one psych course at Yale? Aren't you aware that you have surrounded yourself with advisors whose characters were shaped by that same low point in US history?

Could you please hire a different generation to advise you, George, one with ideals like civil liberties and nonviolence that were applauded by their character-shaping adults?

George, may I send you some self-help books? Maybe the pursuit of self knowledge will help end this recycle. Maybe there's a rebirther willing to work with you, and I don't mean a born-again, God forbid. I mean a professional regression therapist who can help you return to that early age and see the flawed basis of your grownup truth and help you replant the seeds of awareness and insight you so desperately need.

Think about it, George, but not too long. Things are getting creepy out here for all of us in the USA, creepier than it's been since the 1950s. This is not good, George.


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