Sunday, August 27, 2006

Snarky Visits the Vacationing President

Oh boy, Snarky Boy really did it this time. I told you I was done with those ninnies over at Green Mountain Daily. I mean, come on, have you heard about their pathetic day jobs? These boys are such amateur Democrats that they can’t even land decent campaign jobs at the height of campaign season. Can you spell l-o-s-e-r-s? I knew you could. And, by the way, as the “associate membership director” of VNRC, Odum would like all of you to know: don’t forget to donate to Vermont’s most worthless eco-group. And Kestrel Ed would like you to listen to him call out the dial numbers and time at his radio station in Virginia next time you’re there. Sure, Kestrel, we’ll do.

But where was I? Oh yeah, Snarky Boy overdid it this weekend. I was wrapping up my state office-building job on Friday when my buddy, Buddy, heard that President Bush was heading to his mommy and daddy’s tony little abode on the Maine coast. Oh shit, I thought, there goes my weekend.

“I’m going,” Buddy declared from atop a ladder in full head protection from the state-sponsored lead abatement program. “If Bush is in Maine, I’m going to let him know he’s not welcome.”

“But you’re in Vermont,” I let it be known.

“I know, fuckface [ed. note: that’s painter talk], but it’s a half-day’s drive to protest. And I’m sure we won’t be the only ones there.”

And so it went. Or, better yet, there we went: straight to Kennebunkport, Maine, fresh from a day of painting, then lickity-fucking-split in some rickety goddamn Chrysler small-shit car that rattled to the heavens. Ah, the bliss of it all. We were four men in a car, traversing the Northern tier. We were four rather confused – but still radical – painter fellas on our way to just say, “no, thank you” to the President of the United States. We were Kerouac’s Sal and on our own road, but this time with politics, not pussy.

But, honestly, we didn’t know where the hell we were going or why we were going there. Missing one of those questions is usually okay, but missing both of them usually leads to a very long weekend. And it really sucks when you get home, realize the Snarky fan club hasn’t been fed their daily allotment of words, and then tomorrow morning we must face the last brutal hours of a most boring painter gig. There ain’t no peace.

But – wait a second – that’s why we went: there ain’t no peace. Oh yes, of course, after six long years of the simian-like presidency, one tends to forget that being in a constant state of war isn’t normal. But this privileged little prick – Bush, that is – is having one grand time with the nation’s rather obscene arsenal at his fingertips.

So we set out for several hours of nighttime driving to stand at his parents’ house to let him know that a wartime president shouldn’t be allowed a high-class break from his dopey little war when the rest of us are anxiety riddled from his nonsensical world outlook. If, for example, we’re all supposed to be so goddamn scared of everything that may or may not be in our midst, why is he always so friggin’ jovial and carefree.

Oh yeah, now I remember: it’s the infamous “Carter Lesson” at work here. That’s the lesson that every president since Carter has chanted as a mantra since poor Georgia-Jimmy got shown the door in 1980. And it goes like this: Don’t look weak. Don’t get caught showing real emotion. And don’t – whatever you do – put solar panels on the White House even though none us have a nickel’s worth of wisdom about where in holy hell we’re going to get our energy in the future. There, got that?

Speaking of our energy future, I hope some of you good Democrats caught one of Martha Rainville’s responses to an energy question during her Radio Vermont debate with Count Dracula, Mark Shepard. In it, she said something like this: It’s really unfortunate that this energy crisis wasn’t addressed thirty years ago when we first learned that it was going to be a problem.

That’s when Mark Johnson and Radio Vermont need to implement a laugh track. But Mark kept his cool, refusing to even offer a chuckle at the absurdity of Rainville – the Republican’s – bullshit. Earth to Rainville: A certain president, a man by the name of Jimmy Carter, tried to address the energy crisis more than 30-years ago as you suggested, but you and your Republican ilk ran him from office faster than you can say “stick your heads in the sand.” Remember? Yeah, and your presidential-replacement-hero, Ronald Reagan, made the Republican masses swoon when he took office and yanked the Carter-installed solar hot-water panels from the White House roof.

Oh yeah, ignorance IS bliss! And it must be even more blissful for Rainville to spout such nonsense thirty years later as if history doesn’t matter and facts are made of Play-doh! But, hey, we should probably cut her some slack because she really doesn’t know what party she’s running with. And, lucky for her, the dog running against her as a Democrat seems to think that the less he barks the better.

There I go again. Off on some tangent that probably made you forget that I was on my way to Kennebunkport on Friday night to tell President Bush to stop the bullshit. I missed most of the ride to a delicious snooze, fortunately, but I was rudely awoken to the startled exclamations of my more alert comrades. Something really articulate like: “Oh shit.”

I was thinking of something benign like a flat tire or a meandering moose. But when I lifted my head to see nothing but a skyline filled with cop lights and spotlights, I knew the “oh shit” was warranted.

“Oh shit,” I interjected, almost as a communal kind of ante to the situation.

We were in the town of Kennebunk, the last town before the Bush compound’s abode on Kennebunkport. And the security culture was in full force, making sure that the man who insists on war was at peace. Go figure.

Before we could even think about turning around and avoiding the litany of FBI/CIA/Secret Service questions, we were overwhelmed by a blinding barrage of search lights and angry men with flack-jackets and all the armaments to remove Saddam from a rabbit hole.

“State your purpose!” was what I heard more than a few times. And, worse, they were yelling it as much as asking it. In fact, if you want to know what the whole thing felt like to me, try this: ask a loved one to randomly barge in on you during a deep sleep and, with a flashlight directly on your face, yell “What’s your purpose?”

Jesus fucking Christ. There I go, getting redundant again.

I wasn’t doing a damn thing wrong other than sleeping in a wickedly dangerous car (mechanically, that is) but when I heard this question and saw those lights, my first reaction was quite obvious: wake and run, baby, wake and run.

But I didn’t. Or I’m convinced I wouldn’t be writing these words today. Trust me, these guys don’t fuck around. Odd as it seems, they really believe that the man creating war throughout the world deserves peace, even from a rag-tag bunch of painter-guys who plan on doing nothing but bang a drum and chant stupid-rhyming shit for a few hours in the hopes to disrupt one measly second of the warmaker’s getaway.

Luckily, calmer heads prevailed, and we were able to convince the great simian protectors that we came in peace – protest, for sure – but peace nonetheless. After a search of the car and us, we apparently passed the test of ninnie-hood and were actually given directions to the “assigned site of protest.” I felt like such a failure. Good grief, I wondered, do I look like one of those vigilers? Am I so past my activists prime that I just get automatically directed to the site of fellow-past-our-prime-activists so we can do whatever it is those whom we’re protesting have pre-approved?

Please, I thought, someone take me home to Charlio’s where a beer and a buzz can be obtained without the pretence.

No such luck. We were stuck. We were now on the highway to approved protests. It’s a slippery slope, you know. One minute you think you’re radical and the next minute you find yourself “yes-siring” a federal agent and then standing around with the Maine equivalent of the Raging Grannies. And it all happens before you fucking know what’s happening to you.

And it only got worse. When we got to the pre-approved protest site, we had more cops directing everything we did from where we parked to how we were to behave. One even started to read us the Kennebunkport noise ordinance, a cute little document that was clearly passed to protect the Bushies. Basically, the ordinance says, “shut the fuck up.” Oh wait, and it adds this little twist: “Or else.” Whatever.

If they were smart, they would have encouraged America’s disaffected riff-raff to come here to suffer through a somnolently night of –well – political disaffection. Oh, feel the power of the few gathered in our appointed grounds of so-called protest. Me-fucking-ow.

The dawning of morning didn’t help my snarky mood, either. Because just like we had a designated place to protest in Kennebunkport, we also had a designated place to defecate. One designated place, that is. Worse, there were lines to the port-o-potty that would have made a Florida or Ohio minority voter envious. In other words, the lines were long. And the keepers of peace from the Security State of the United States took their bathroom duties as serious as serious could be.

I almost got “busted” for veering off into a path to take a leak at one point, and you’d think I was the second coming of Osama the way they confronted me. “You can’t pee there!” they yelled. And I thought I had logic on my side when I started in on my dialectic of the outdoor peer, even going so far as to show them the wildlife prints from our natural brethren like the abundant deer who didn’t seem to give a hoot about the port-o-potties.

“You ain’t Bambi, buddy,” was the best response I got. And he had a point.

Trust me, I haven’t felt this foolish at a protest since I was last suckered into attending one of those State House love-fests starring Joseph Gainza and his cast of all-too-predictable characters. You’ve seen one of those protests and you’ve seen them all. But because Joseph’s drawing a handsome salary to keep it up, he keeps it up. Profit in the name of peace? You bet. Ben & Jerry did, so why can’t Joseph? Except when it comes to Joseph’s salary, it ain’t 1% for peace, it’s 100% for peace – Joseph’s economic peace, that is. Yeah, keep singing Grannies.

Speaking of Gainza, I see from the Montpelier Bridge this month that he’s getting ready to possibly think about perhaps doing something that he loves to talk about from afar. I’m speaking, of course, about civil disobedience. Gainza was apparently all jacked up for the Cindy Sheehan appearance in Montpelier recently and got all giddy at the mouth, including a threat to engage in civil disobedience – just like the radicals of the past! But Sheehan didn’t show and Gainza was left with his same audience who’ve heard this promise too many times before to take it seriously. Yawn.

But the promise of Joseph waking himself up certainly caught the attention of The Bridge’s just as sleepy editor, Nat Frothing-something. Nat was clearly intrigued by the timelessness of Gainza’s pledge, and then let him wiggle out of it in one his famous meandering articles, ending with Gainza back tracking so much on his civil disobedience pledge that you forgot he had even called for it in the first place. And the real sad part is that Nat Frothier-than-thou didn’t even appear to notice that the article he started writing had nothing to do with its ending.

Way to go, Joseph! Collect that check for peace, baby!

Damn. Where was I? Oh yeah. The protest in Kennebunkport yesterday morning.

Here’s how it went: We stood where we were supposed to. We chanted what they expected us to. And we left just like they thought we would, too.

And all the Snarky Boy got from the whole miserable affair was a fatigue headache, some fine conversation on the way home, and the limp happiness of knowing I showed up to do what very few other people in this so-called democracy could give two-shits about showing up to: a protest against the worst president in the nation’s history.

Now I’ve got to go face that same stupid wall of lead paint tomorrow morning.


And what the hell did you do?