On a cloudless November morning, I stroll lazily along
the sidewalk listening to an old Joni Mitchell tune,
Big Yellow Taxi. And while Joni sings the refrain, it
occurs to me that her words provide an apt epitaph for
the end of Grim King George's reign: "Don't it always
seem to go that you don't know what you've gone till
its gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking
"The end of Grim King George's reign?" you say. "Isn't
G. Dubya still living at the White House," you ask,
"and aren't his mullah-like minions still ruling the
land and running amok abroad?"
Well, yes, he is. And, yes, they are. But look, with
poll numbers spiraling ever downward to ugly Nixonian
levels, Grim King George has lost his popular mandate.
Those who were once fooled are fooled no more. So my
point is this: the emperor has no clothes. His goose
is cooked. His load is shot. And every right-thinking
person can see it.
The King's chest thumping bravado and swaggering Texas
machismo are gone, replaced by Washington suit-and-tie management mumblings about "staying the course" in Iraq and anemic speeches
likening fighting terrorism to fighting the Cold War. (Even I was embarrassed for ol' King George on that one.)
And while the Self-Righteous-Right wonders where the
King's mojo may have gone, the sane center of America
- the vast majority of folks now - all know the truth:
the administration's endless, blundering incompetence intertwining seamlessly with the administration's contagious, contemptible
corruption has sealed the King's doom.
Yup, the reign of Grim King George has deflated with a
sad whisper and not a thunderous bang, just the
hissing of a torn whoopee cushion. (Or is that the
slithering sound of right-wing snakes returning to the
soft mud beneath the rocks?)
Sure, I realize that there are three more years left
in Grim King George's reign. And sure, I realize that,
with no one to stop his madness, Grim King George will
ensure three thousand or so more American soldiers
will die in desert sands, so many shredded to confetti
by roadside bombs and rocket-launched missiles.
And yes, over the next three years, Grim King George
will murder many more Iraqi men, women, and children -
shot in their cars when they don't stop on command or
blown to meat pulp in their homes while they sleep or
they eat or they make love. He will murder them in the thousands and the tens of thousands. (But then again, like Tommy Franks said,
we don't count the Iraqi dead, do we. Not in the reign of Grim King George, anyway.)
And back at home, the new Supreme Court - with its
Grim King George appointed justices - will jerk
sharply away from Justice and Liberty and Domestic
Tranquility. They will sternly strip abortion rights
from all women while give corporations the rights to
steal everything - from the air we breathe, to the
water we drink - being sure to send us the hefty bill.
You can bet that for three more years, Grim King
George will continue his relentless gutting of
environmental protection laws while ignoring or
dismissing the rising temperatures of global warming,
and the rising numbers of cataclysmic storms, and the
rising ocean levels from melting polar ice caps. And
without a hint of irony, in the name of national
security, Grim King George will drill for oil in
Alaska and off Florida and anywhere else he damn well
And lastly, of course, with three more years still to
go, the poor will get decidedly poorer and the rich outrageously richer.
But hey, the dark dream of the Self-Righteous Right is
over. It's a cloudless November morning in America,
and all that remains is dime-store political thuggery
- and the slow ticking of three years' time.
Strolling lazily along the sidewalk, I listen again to
Joni's refrain, "Don't it always seem to go that you
don't know what you've gone till its gone. They paved
paradise and put up a parking lot."
And I think: America had a beautiful country, once.
I know, because it's gone.
Steven Laffoley is an American writer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the author of Mr. Bush, Angus and
Me. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.