Earlier today I quietly imploded when I read that George W. Bush, our former man-child president, “drew a brief cheer from the crowd” before reading a letter from Abraham Lincoln to a Civil War mother at today’s Ground Zero ceremony. George W. Bush! The man who froze over a copy of My Pet Goat when he learned that a commercial jetliner had struck the World Trade Center, whose response was to go cowboy, invading two countries not one while failing to capture Osama Bin Laden in either (for obvious reasons), who brought us Guantanamo, the Patriot Act, water-boarding, Abu Ghraib, AND a recession. This man belongs in a prison cell for war crimes, not on the receiving end of applause.
And yet, as I struggle to assimilate all of this, resist the urge to call it quits on this crazy country once and for all, I take some tiny shard of consolation — or pleasure, really — in a recent sight I was lucky enough to see at a Borders Bookstore bankruptcy sale near Cleveland, Ohio. There, on several prominent rungs of bookshelf, not far from the signs advertising $75 for a Borders light fixture (since everything must go!), I saw a large cache of unsold Bush biographies. Yes, I know, the book sold brilliantly when it came out last year, it was reassuring to know that at least in this one small eastern corner of the heartland, Bush and his presidential legacy were right where they belonged: unclaimed, rejected, floating in the remainder bin of a bankrupt cultural bazaar.