Monday, February 06, 2006

Two facts that sum up the State of the Union: (1) just before the President’s SOTU Address Exxon Mobil posted record profits for any U.S. company — we’re talking the highest quarter earnings to cap the largest annual net income in U.S. history. (2) At the same time, Americans’ personal savings rate fell below zero for the first time since the Great Depression. In political terms this may be indicative of willful arrogance on the one hand, but it is also a sign of willed ignorance on the other.

A President’s SOTU addresses are always enlightening. Last year’s speech was a monumental paean to war. This year, with a nation wearier from natural disasters and warier of war, the speech was more intimate. The theme: self-help. Take America’s oil addiction. Did anyone detect a playful irony in the Pusher-in-chief giving his citizen-addicts what-for? Was it a bit of wink wink nudge nudge? The day after the unveiling of his grand new “Advanced Energy Initiative” news broke of a fifteen per cent cut in the Department of Energy’s R&D budget, and significant lay-offs in its wind and ethanol research labs. Oh, don’t act all surprised! Outrage is outré. I mean, check out Cindy Sheehan, with her withery, droopy-dog looks and deadpan inflection. This is the face of American outrage today.

So was the President lying? This President? Never. Just as our Protector-in-chief is above the law when it comes to spying on Americans, he is clearly light-years beyond good and evil. We can no more know his grand purpose than we can know the Almighty’s he has sworn to represent on earth. What may seem like deception to faithless citizens is really just disregard for truth. Rest easy. Just as what seems like “a timetable for Iraq” is really “isolationism,” kidnapping by our secret police is really “rendition,” and what looks a lot like hostage-taking in Iraq by our own armed forces is really “leveraging.” In Mr. Bush’s own exalted phrase, oft-repeated in his speech, we live in “a hopeful society,” not a truthful one. Didn’t you get the memo?

“A hopeful society” trusts in its Protector-in-chief’s plan. We may doubt on occasion, but it’s because we’re deceiving ourselves, as is so often the case with addicts. More specifically, although the President didn’t want to mention it on account of it might discourage us from seeking treatment, America has been diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD). According to the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and the DSM-IV, “Clients with DPD feel helpless and incompetent.... They will subordinate their desires and refrain from making demands; they may tolerate abuse to maintain a relationship,…deny or minimize trouble,…avoid tension and limit their awareness of both themselves and others. They appear friendly, naive, and self-effacing.”

It’s OK. DPD is as American as apple pie. And we have a perfect Protector-in-chief who’s looking out for us, and knows what’s what. He’s said it himself: “Fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me...you can't get fooled again.”

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