Goodnight Bush

By David Swanson

Goodnight room.

Goodnight refinery plume.

If you’ve ever been a child or a parent you’ve probably read a book called “Goodnight Moon.” I’ve just read a new parody version called “Goodnight Bush.” It’s wonderfully done, with endless bizarre and troubling and humourous details to spot on every page. It’s also an excellent example of a weird and disturbing phenomenon. While there is no serious massive civil disobedience in Washington D.C. aimed at ridding us of Bush and bringing him to justice, his crimes are so widely acknowledged that they now appear as accepted fact in hundreds of books, movies, articles, songs, plays, and works of art in the post-Bush sub-genre alone (I mean just those works that focus on the long drawn-out Goodbye to Bush moment of the current year and a half or so).

I don’t want to give away the details of “Goodnight Bush.” You’ll have to read it. But here are some of the crimes and abuses of power it touches on: election fraud, torture, war of aggression, war based on lies, war for profit, corruption of communications media, secret law making, destruction of separation of powers, shredding of Constitution, distortion of science, illegal spying, theocratic tendencies, corruption by oil corporations, 9-11 negligence, environmental destruction, failure to pursue Osama bin Laden (You can spot little Osama sneaking quietly through the pages of “Goodnight Bush”), lawless detention, alienation of former allies, slaughter of innocents, fiscal and mortgage industry oversight irresponsibility, erosion of the rule of law, neglect of New Orleans and Gulf Coast, terror warning fear mongering, and nearly psychedelically unbelievable incompetence and brazen criminality.

I’m glad that our culture is so aware of this criminality on the part of our president. I’m glad my bookshelves can no longer hold all the serious adult books on the topic. I’m glad the Speaker of the House thinks it’s all old news when Scott McClellan blurts it out. I’m glad the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has a book for sale listing Bush and Cheney’s impeachable offenses. We have to be glad for all of these little reminders that we are not living through an episode of the Twighlight Zone, that we have not stumbled into a “Goodnight Moon” book. And yet, it’s hard not to wonder if even just the authors of all of these works, much less the readers and listeners and viewers, took two days off, went to Washington, D.C., and shut the city down, we wouldn’t be better off, even without all the books.

That’s one thought that disturbs me. The other is that we are starting down a 50 percent chance of havigng an even WORSE president than Bush installed in the White House next year, with none of Bush’s illegal powers having been revoked. And I would say we’re facing a near certainty of landing ourselves a worse president than Bush within the next 20 years, if we survive that long. I’m afraid that just sitting back and hoping that each successive emperor is benevolent will leave us mouthing the last words of “Goodnight Bush”:

Goodnight earth?

Goodnight heir?

Goodnight failures everywhere.

The people who drafted our Constitution did not think we could possibly survive as a democratic republic if we elected a new king every four years. They thought we needed a government like the one that still exists on paper in the Constitution. The bulk of the power, theoretically, resides with the people’s representatives in Congress. An executive who steps out of line is, supposedly, impeached. That check on dictatorial power was well thought out.

Don’t get me wrong. “Goodnight Bush” is well thought out too. I just fear that we may be at a moment in history when something more than cuteness is called for. If we don’t find it soon, we may be done for.

And goodnight to Dick Cheney whispering “Hush.”

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