May 2004
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Bush-bashing books may not make a difference

By Janelle Holden

An awful lot of authors seem to have been inspired by the Bush administration lately. Every time I turn on the television Larry King or Charlie Rose is asking a concerned-looking, 60-ish male why George Bush thinks God appointed him president, or why Condoleeza Rice didn’t read her memos from Richard Clarke.

I enjoy watching these interviews. I like the political furor the authors’ books inspire. Mostly because it’s good drama, and I’m a political junkie. Which is why one might wonder why none of these books ever ends up on my bookshelf. I think it’s probably because all of the juicy parts are hashed and rehashed on the news every night. Why read 300 pages when only a few details are important?

Recently, against my better judgment, I started reading one of these books, mostly at the insistence of my nephew, who gave it to me, and my husband, who loved it. It’s called, “Dude, Where’s My Country?” It’s by Michael Moore, and yes, that’s that guy who made a scene at the Oscars last year. Moore’s tale is not like the latest rash of insider tell-alls. It’s mostly based on newspaper articles from mainstream media such as the Christian Science Monitor, and the Boston Globe.

He starts by linking the Bush family with bin Laden’s family and its vast wealth of corporate oil interests. I was surprised to learn that on 9/11, while all other flights were grounded, Osama bin Laden’s relatives were being flown out of the country with the Bush administration’s approval. And, on top of it all, the FBI didn’t even question them before they left!

But that’s about as far as I got before I put the book down, and started reading “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Here’s why. I’ve already made up my mind about George W. Bush. I don’t like him. I’ll never vote for him, and why waste any more emotional energy on the man?

Bush and I couldn’t disagree more on most issues. I don’t have a big problem with gay marriage. He does. I believe the Iraq war was a mistake. He doesn’t. I believe that people who make millions shouldn’t get tax breaks. He does.

But you know what? I can do very little about that difference of opinion. I know better than to write my Congressman. Having worked for him, I know the response I get will be written by a recent college graduate and signed by a machine with a blue felt-tip pen that exactly replicates the Senator’s signature. I could campaign for Kerry, but frankly, Montana, like Colorado, has no hope of becoming a blue state in November. I might write a letter to the editor here and there, and use this column space to vent my spleen, but I have little faith that I’m converting anyone to liberalism.

So, I have decided to do three things: 1.) Vote; 2.) Make my husband vote; and 3.) Drink lots of tequila the night Bush gets re-elected. Several people I know are planning to move to Canada later this year, but I know that, in reality, we will continue to do what we always do – pay the bills, mow the lawn, sit on school boards, and worry about the rise in domestic violence in our cities and towns.

By now I suspect I’ve weeded out those readers who will write letters questioning my patriotism or my gratitude to our troops for defending American’s freedom. But, just in case, let me remind everyone that in a democracy, it’s OK to disagree with your president. Thus, it was OK for those readers to hate Clinton and read all those Clinton-conspiracy books that came out in the late ’90’s. I’m afraid I didn’t read any of those either. Too boring. I’d much rather watch Ken Starr on Larry King.

Janelle Holden, a former resident of Montezuma County, writes from Livingston, Montana.


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