America's Wait What Moment

« September 2005 »

You know what a Wait What Moment is, right?

It's that point in a conversation with somebody. It can be at a party, at work, or online, but you're going along, talking with somebody, generally getting along, and you sort of stop paying attention for a while, and then you hear them say something completely batshit, and you mentally have to go "Wait, what?" and completely re-evaluate your view of that person.

Like when you're talking news with someone at work, and they break out with something insanely racist, out of nowhere. Or you're talking video games, and as if in a dream, you hear the words "I think the fourth time I played through Big Mutha Truckers 2 was probably the most rewarding."

It's the point at which, if I were God, I would use my Godpowers to have the needle-scratch sound effect played somehow. That awkward moment of disconnect. Which brings me, inexorably, to our President.

If opinion polls are to be believed, quite a few of us have been having that moment in the past two weeks. But if opinon polls are to be believed, thirty five to forty percent of us still haven't had it. I don't get it. I mean, it took half a dozen sentences for me to decide that John Kerry was a tool, and I'm a Democrat. What's it gonna take for you people? Something like, perhaps, an ACTUAL QUOTE TIME?

"I've been thinking a lot about how America has responded, and it's clear to me that Americans value human life, and value every person as important. And that stands in stark contrast, by the way, to the terrorists we have to deal with. You see, we look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break. They're the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We're in a war against these people. It's a war on terror. These are evil men who target the suffering. They killed 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001. And they've continued to kill. See, sometimes we forget about the evil deeds of these people. They've killed in Madrid, and Istanbul, and Baghdad, and Bali, and London, and Sharm el-Sheikh, and Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. Around the world they continue to kill."

I swear, he's the secret love child of Rain Man and Dr. Seuss.

In the context of his entire speech - in which, by the way, he uses the construction "we got a" no less than three times - the above represents, structurally, a segue. He had a storm part of the speech, and a terrorism part of the speech, and he had to get from the storm part of the speech to the terrorism part of the speech.

After Katrina, there were a lot of jokes about declaring war on nature, or fighting the weather over there so we don't have to fight it here, but as happens so often with this administration, the real thing trumps the parody version yet again.

How can you not have a Wait What moment after hearing "They're the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it."? How can even the Republican Jewish Coalition, the recipients of Dubya's fine verbalizing skills, sit there and applaud a man whose awesome geopolitical vision contains moustache-twirling, kaffiyeh-wearing villains sitting around a table wondering where they could get them one of those "hurricanes"?

That, by the way, is the kind of armchair stereotype psychoanalysis they constantly accuse the left of dragging out. I'll tell you one thing - maybe when we rebuild the Gulf, we should line the coast with thousands of flimsy strawmen, since that seems to be the only thing that can withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

I guess, in the end, that's the real difference between us and them. Bush's terrorists look at the devastation in New Orleans and wish they'd caused it. Bush looks at the devastation in New Orleans, once he gets around to it, and spends three weeks sending out his hit-men to convince us all he had no part in causing it.

And thirty five to forty percent of you all are still fuckin' buyin' it.