My husband, sister and I went to see Charlie Wilson’s War yesterday. Great movie. Made me want to learn more about Wilson and made our 21-year-old son, who saw it later in the day, become a Congressman. (I’m sure the latter was owing to a Congressman’s ability to do good in the world and had nothing whatsoever to do with the hot-tub scenes with the strippers.) Watching it, I recalled Molly Ivins’ comment that although, on principle, she was against male chauvinists, she couldn’t resist good old boys like Wilson who charmed and blustered and ogled women, but ultimately had good hearts.
It was so refreshing, too, to see a true-life account of Texans doing something worthwhile in world affairs. How long has it been since we’ve seen something like that — as we continue to cope with the current pseudo-Texan White House occupant who invaded the wrong country for the wrong reasons and managed to botch it in a breathtaking, stomach-churning way? Someday, I feel sure, Osama bin Laden — whom we were going to get dead or live, remember? — will die of old age the same way Fidel Castro will. But, as usual, I digress.
In fact, my only complaint with the movie was that its Texas protagonists sported rounded Southern accents instead of flatter Texas inflections. Surely somebody could have called a Dairy Queen in East Texas to get a few lessons.
I noticed that most of the people at the movie seemed, like us, to be relieved to leave Christmas behind them. Sure, the mobbed gatherings and rich foods and drinks and presents and camaraderie were all great. But it’s so wonderful, too, to move past them. Maybe that’s the ultimate benefit of the holidays: They make us grateful to get back to our ordinary lives and a regular routine.
Which is exactly what I’m thinking this interminable lead-up to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries will do for us. Go ahead and vote already and be sure to let us know what happens and what it means. We’ll all breathe a huge sigh when it’s all over.
Still, as an Independent with Democratic leanings, I’d thought I didn’t have a favorite candidate among the top three. Anybody, I kept telling myself, would be better than the status quo, than any of the potential Republican nominees (among whom John McCain is the only guy I can respect. I also completely disagree with him on most of his stands, but at least this is a guy with backbone and integrity).
But then, I started watching more closely. Seven years of George W. Bush has deadened my brain and made me remember any past presidents with a kind of pathetic, whimpering nostalgia (even Richard Nixon sounds good these days. Richard! Nixon! My generation’s anti-Christ. How bad can it get?).
But then I started recalling how sick I was of Bill Clinton when he finally, grudgingly exited the White House after pardoning all kinds of miscreants. The Clintons and their eternal soap opera: Aren’t eight years of that enough? Can’t this country of 300 million come up with somebody decent whose last name isn’t Clinton or Bush? Dynasty was a bad TV series, not a blueprint for this country’s future.
I’m sure Hillary Clinton has many admirable qualities and I’m sure I want a woman in the White House. Just not a woman from this particular nuclear family that’s already overstayed its welcome in the Oval Office. Walk away, Clintons and Bushes, and leave us alone. Maybe, in 11 months, I’ll be ready for another round of the holidays; but I know I won’t be ready for the likes of you.
Please — leave us in peace. You’ve already done enough damage. Give us a happy new year without you.
(Copyright 2007 by Ruth Pennebaker)