All The President's Balls (A Photo Essay):
Yesterday, the President of the United States honored two years worth of NCAA sports champions. From bowling to basketball, mostly he did so by proudly clutching balls and making sure that everyone got a picture.
As was his usual way, George W. Bush praised the team members for their accomplishments off the field, as well as on: "[W]e thank you for your contributions to the communities in which you live. These athletes have volunteered at food banks during holidays; they have visited schools to inspire children with disabilities; they've encouraged literacy and good health; they've raised money to fight cancer. What I'm telling you are -- is they're great athletes and good citizens." That last sentence, with its wistful attempt at English, prioritizes the players there: always citizens last.
Surely, the temptation here is to point out all the awful things going on in the world while Bush was playing with his new balls, like the three dead American soldiers in Mosul, with more injured, who might some day be lucky enough to be visited by college athletes while at Walter Reed or another hospital. But that would be trite. Reductionist. After all, are we not allowed to celebrate the triumphs of youth?
Yet there is something deeply disconcerting in Bush's non-stop grinning throughout. Something disquieting, as if within his heart and soul, he is at peace while so many of us are not.
Maybe that's it. At the end of the day, those of us who despise this man want to see that he suffers. We don't want to hear from him that he cries or prays or any such nonsense. We want to see him doubled over in agony, retching out his guts over what he has done.
But that is not his way. Just like his unimaginably graceless confession about the war in Iraq that his only mistake was in talking tougher than he should have, he simply floats along, blissful, as if he's not only wearing rose-colored glasses, but wearing some kind of goggles that enable him to see unicorns, rainbows, goddamn Care Bears.
For, at the end of the day, a man who is sending people to die should not be allowed to have as much fun as this man has day in, day out, a presidency of non-stop c'est la vie.