The King and his subjects

From Tena:

here’s a very good op-ed from the Boston Globe, about Bush and Cindy Sheehan.

Mr. Bush, let’s talk

By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist �|� August 9, 2005

AMERICA HAS a president, not a king. But just like royalty, the nation’s commander in chief can keep his distance from the common man or woman.

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a son who died in Iraq, is camped out in Crawford, Texas, trying to get a face-to-face meeting with the vacationing George W. Bush. She wants to tell the president that he should pull all American troops out of Iraq. Her son, Casey, was killed at age 24 in the Sadr City section of Baghdad on April 4, 2004.

The police blocked her a few miles from the Bush ranch. On Saturday, two Bush administration officials were dispatched to speak to her. But Sheehan says she will not leave until she sees the president. ”I plan on staying here the entire month of August or until he comes out to talk to me,” she told USA Today.

Democracy in America begins with a very intimate connection between the people and those who seek to represent them. In the initial quest for votes, those running for elective office, including the presidency, will talk and meet with virtually anyone. There is no coffee hour too small to attend nor person too humble to approach. Once the vote-seeker wins office, it’s a different story. The walls go up. The doors lock. The distance grows.

We’ve been fighting in this country since the Revolutionary War to have a form of government that is the opposite of an aristocracy. We’ve been only partially successful at the best of times. These aren’t the best of times, needless to say. We have one huge goddamned king-sized battle going on right now over whether we are going to be ruled or governed.

So far, Bush is winning this war. When he returned to Crawford to start his 500th or so vacation, people were told they couldn’t look at the Emperor Bush when he got there. Since when are Americans not allowed to look at their leaders? Our leaders are supposed to remember that they work for us, not the other way around.

Of course, in addition to being convinced of his own Divine Right of Republican Presidents, Bush is a coward. Very noticeably so. I suspect that it is this cowardice that keeps him from meeting with Cindy Sheehan, rather than his deeply held conviction in his own entitlement. But whatever the reason, this is the perfect example of how the Imperial Republicans handle the presidency. Remember Poppy at the helm of his cigarette boat, racing up and down the coast of Maine during the first gulf war? That’s how much the Bushes think of our military, who are fighting and dying thousands of miles from home.

At the heart of the matter, the war is somewhat beside the point here. The point is this: America is a democracy and the president holds that office at our pleasure, not his own. He by god should be required to come out from behind that damned wall and talk to this mother, whose son has been killed at his command, in a war he started.

Of course, we all know he won’t do it. The Bushes don’t like to be breathed on by honest to god Americans. That’s entirely too democratic for people of such privilege. And entirely too much “hard work” for Chickenshit George, the President who doesn’t ever have to explain anything.