Monday, May 24, 2004

Hail to the Chief diet aid, if not policies

Your voice: Gary Leising

I'm a liberal, and I owe President Bush thanks. Because of him, in the last few weeks, I've lost five pounds.

Some time ago, he sent me a picture of him and Laura as thanks for my contribution (which he expected was forthcoming) to his campaign. Where did he get my address? Did John Ashcroft give him a secretly obtained list of people who bought DVDs of Michael Moore movies?

Surely he didn't save my address from the letters I sent him - my stands against destroying the Alaskan wilderness, for gun control and against the war in Iraq should show I'm not going to open my wallet for him. The situation seemed funny, so as a joke, I put the pictures on my refrigerator.

I've kept food and exercise journals. But George W. is the best diet aid I've found. Every time I go to get a snack out of the fridge, I see his picture and feel too sick to eat.

This feeling worsens as Bush campaigns with baseless attacks on his opponent. His ads mislead about Sen. John Kerry's voting record - Kerry voted for 16 of 19 Pentagon authorization bills, contrary to the recent "Weapons" ad's implications.

And why aren't more people sick that someone who can't prove he fulfilled his duty to the National Guard claims John Kerry wasn't wounded badly enough to earn his Purple Hearts? I wonder what Bush thinks about the men and women of our armed forces wounded recently in Iraq.

Speaking of Iraq, it bothers me, too, that when asked to whom power in Iraq would be transferred June 30, Bush responded, "You'll find out soon." Shouldn't a plan be in place now? This situation - war, nation-building, imperialism, whatever - seems to deserve a better explanation. Instead, Bush talks like it's the finale of Friends.

I get sick, too, thinking of his refusal to give answers to questions he's asked - such as why he needs Vice President Dick Cheney with him before the 9-11 commission, or what mistakes he thinks he's made in office. How about that "Mission Accomplished" banner? Far too many soldiers have died since then for me to believe that one.

Sure, losing more weight would be great, but I worry about this ill feeling lasting too long. Besides, there's good stuff in my fridge. I just can't get past that picture. There's a bottle of champagne waiting to be opened. I need a reason to celebrate - maybe in November ...

Gary Leising is a professor in the Department of Literature and Language at Northern Kentucky University.

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