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  • Arthur Bacon

Thank God, We’re Free at Last

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

How I have longed for this day every day for eight years! Now, at last, I can sleep, work, read, write, make art, plant some lilacs, listen to music, play pool, walk, drive and just plain live a normal life again. That’s all I have prayed for; a normal life free of quotidian acrimony and political depression. For eight of the longest years in American history we have been plagued with a never-ending anxiety about what form of self-aggrandizement, chicanery, dissembling, mendacity and ruthlessness George Bush was going to exercise next.

The George W. Bush White House brought us recidivist homophobia, denial of Global Warming, abnegation of science, a war which, by any standard of scholarship has only increased the determination of our Cimmerian adversaries in Afghanistan, renunciation of the Geneva Accords, increased consumption of fossil fuels, rape of the wilderness, attempts to destroy Social Security and faux remedies for our schools and health care system. Every day for eight years we had to watch our backs to see what was going on to threaten our landscape, our lives and our children’s futures. From Harvard to Stanford academic historians are already calling the George W. Bush administration the absolute worst in American history; worse than Harding, Pierce or Buchanan. How could any of us live a normal, happy life with such unconscionable pillaging of our national heritage going on?

Yeah, yeah, yeah we worked and played and sang and slept and won some gold medals through these calamitous years but NEVER without a constant, desperate nagging realization in the backs of our minds that we were getting screwed…royally. This was the first administration since World War Two in which intelligent, well read, deep thinking people mentioned the word “fascism” in conversations about our government. Labor was threatened, the press was bullied, individual liberties were abrogated while we slid ever more feverishly into the dunes of war in Mesopotamia. Once a day in Iraq for seven years an American boy or girl has been sacrificed in a war for Dick Cheney’s friends at Halliburton and Blackwater Incorporated. Even Mozart couldn’t assuage these anxieties. Every single one of us was angry, preoccupied and ceaselessly “involved” with the ineptitude of our government. Old friendships dissolved in acrimony. We were angry and belligerent when we got up, on our way to work, at work, and when we got home. We were addicted to the opiate of gloom in the press and nightly news and a thousand blogs.

For eight years we had a president who said, “nuculer;” with fatuous indifference to scholarship and obvious impatience with counsel. Seig Heil! He sure as hell behaved like an idiot but then there were those who said it was an “act”. Act or no act, thank God, the “soap” is over.

Because now we’ve got one of the very smartest guys to come down the pike in generations. This new guy did not fight in Viet Nam and he didn’t smile and play dumb to get elected. He even admitted to “inhaling”. He is actually a student of history in addition to being a constitutional scholar. Damn, he is smart! Can you believe that? An intelligent president! We can sleep, work and listen to Mozart, play chess, paint, plant flowers and read poetry again with a totally clear apolitical conscience from now on. We do not have to worry anymore. Seriously. To quote Keats, for eight years we all felt as though we were underwater with scarcely an urge “to kick to come to the top”. From now on we can just get on with our parochial lives knowing happily that we have elected a new government “by and for the people” and that what is decided in the White House will be the conclusion of an exceptionally intelligent, earnest, principled man with a cabinet and staff of equally intelligent, law-abiding and well-meaning people. We do not need to worry about how the Oligarchy is going to screw us over again…and again…and again. My God, for eight years it seemed as if there was no end to the horrors we might wake up to every morning in the name of privatization and “national security”(such as the recent announcement that millions of acres of wilderness in Utah and Colorado are now available for “energy development”).

Of course, Barack Obama is going to make mistakes and do some things we might not agree with but we can sleep and work and play selfishly confident that our president is actually working long and hard every day (and late into the night) to make the entire United States a better place for as many of us as possible without exclusions for a handful of scoundrels. He is not going to break laws for one thing. He has an accurate moral compass; actually it is probably more like a GPS. We can be happy that our new president will not wantonly offend our friends and allies in Europe and Asia. We can play a game of chess without worrying about a pre-emptive strike on Iran. We can take a hike knowing that that piece of wilderness will not soon become an oilfield.

Yes, my friends, from now on we can stop worrying. Shit is going to continue to happen with inexorable frequency but it will not be discharged from the White House. There’s a doctor in the house folks. Everything’s gonna be all right. Thank God, we’re free at last.

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