Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Moral Blindness of a Stepford First Lady

Big Hubby is watching you!


There was something creepy about seeing the most invisible First Lady in years give a press conference on the plight of the Burmese people in the wake of the devastating cyclone and flooding. We haven't seen her in months and while it's admirable that she seems to care a great deal for the long-suffering people of Burma and admires Aung San Suu Kyi (who doesn't?), to listen to her press conference speech chastising the military junta that rules Burma with an iron fist is an exercise in pure amazement over the audacity of it all. Why, you ask? Because the very words she spoke could have perfectly described her husband's own response to the catastrophe that was Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Does she not get that? Is she that willfully blind to her husband's incompetence? Does she not think the world will laugh at her statement?

That's the problem with hypocrites. They are blind to their own faults while quick to condemn others who exhibit the same moral failings that they have. A total disregard for human suffering could easily describe not just the military junta in Burma, but also George W. Bush. Each smirk of his betrays his lack of compassion.

Here are some of her most telling words:

"Although they were aware of the threat, Burma's state-run media failed to issue a timely warning to citizens in the storm's path. The response to the cyclone is just the most recent example of the junta's failure to meet its people's basic needs. The regime has dismantled systems of agriculture, education and health care. This once wealthy nation now has the lowest per capita GDP in Southeast Asia."
Is she talking about the Burmese military junta or her husband's administration? Her statement was delivered without irony. Often, I wonder about this most "Stepford Wife" among First Ladies. What does she truly think of her husband's decisions? I remember hearing about how she had chastised Bush for his early bravado post-9/11 about "gettin' 'em." She, along with Condoleezza Rice are the only two members of this administration that I like, but even this press conference seemed bizarre. She's rarely seen in public (a conservative fantasy: women are seen but not heard), but this tragedy prompts her to give an especially rare press conference. Then, after talking about the tragedy, the politics of Burma's upcoming referendum, and expressing her admiration for the dissident and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, she mentions the fact that she had wanted to make a statement before going to Crawford, Texas for her daughter's wedding (with 14 bridesmaids!). Something weird is going on. Who asked her to make a statement on behalf of her husband's administration? After months of being invisible, why not continue in that vein until hubby leaves the White House in shame? Why not just focus purely on her daughter's wedding preparations and leave the political posturing to Condoleezza Rice?

The Laura I wish we saw these past seven years would be based on Lysistrata. In college, I had to read a Greek play ("Lysistrata") where the women of Athens are fed up with endless war that they conspire to put an end to it in the only way they know how. The women refuse to have sex with their husbands until they end the war. I'm not sure if this was considered the "birth of homosexuality" or it only encouraged the ancient Greek warriors to take care of each other like they supposedly do in prison these days. But, it was an interesting idea. I've thought of writing an update, called "Laurastrata" featuring the current cast who occupy the Executive Branch of government. However, it would be too easy. We have enough photographic evidence of Bush's hand holding with Saudi Princes, bear hugs with gay escorts, cocky swagger in a flight suit, and most damning of all...that bizarre photograph of John McCain hugging him like...nobody's business! If Laura did pull a "Lysistrata" on his ass, he'd probably make like a Greek warrior and find his needs met in the arms of Log Cabin Republicans like Karl Rove and Mark Foley.

So, that's not a story I care to write. The icky factor is too great. In all honestly, I feel sorry for Laura. An introverted, mousy librarian deserves a better husband. And if women do influence their husbands in positive ways, it looks like she has had little impact on her Georgie-porgey. Of course, he's been a lot worse, so maybe he's evolved as far as he could tolerate...while still maintaining his frat-boy smirk and tendency towards cruel pranks. Is that Laura's fault? She's part of a party that expects women to be Stepford wives, supporting their husbands unconditionally, with the sycophantic adoring worship of a Harriet "You're the best president ever, sir!" Miers. It's a shame that Laura Bush was little utilized by this administration in the past seven years. A press conference on the cyclone emergency in Burma is too little, too late. America no longer cares. Just go have your wedding in Crawford and do the world a favor. Stay there for the rest of hubby's term!


Scenes from Burma


And let's never forget the plight of the Burmese!


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