Well, we’ve had something in Washington, an event called the America Supports You Freedom Walk and I guess I’m confused.
It was billed as free and open to the public, but only the public that signed up in advance on the Department of Defense web site. The rest were fenced off, not included, relegated to observer status and prevented from shaking the hand of The Donald.
I have a scenario for how it may have come about:
“Don, we’re just taking a bath on our poll ratings.”
“I know, Mr. President. It’s simply not fair that these bozos and bums and way-out, liberal idiots don’t seem to have picked up on how we’re making our country safe for future generations.” Rumsfeld studies his nails, thinks about a manicure.
“Yeah.” President Bush frowns, then grins. “But you’re right-on about that future generation thing. We pretty much hung the whole cost of our policy on them.” Frowns again. “But whatta we gonna do about these polls?”
“I got an idea. Let me run this past you. Suppose we razzle-dazzle this upcoming 9/11 anniversary? Make it sing the old anthem. We can hook it all together with Iraq and Afghanistan, get some double mileage that way, throw in a tribute to our boys in uniform, pass out a bunch of tee shirts and grab some momentum.”
“Big Mo.” Bush cracks his famous crooked grin. “I like it.” His eyes cloud over. “Trouble is, every time we plan something like that we get all those dirty-minded, sex crazed protesters messin’ up our photo ops.”
“Nah.” Rumsfeld squints at the president. “Handle it just like the convention. Sign ‘em all up ahead of time. Make sure we got our people lined up, throw some uniforms at ‘em, maybe get a few wounded out there if they’re not too badly hurt, throw in a concert to wind it up.”
“Fireworks? Can I have fireworks?”
“Might look too much like a celebration. This has to be a memorial, a certain feeling of gravity about it. Gonna make it an annual thing. Gonna call this the First Annual whatever. Give us some ammunition if we’re still in that damned desert a year from now . . . or two.”
“Great! I love it! How ‘bout first annual War Against Terror Parade?”
“We’re not doing the war against thing anymore, remember?”
“I forgot.” President frowns. “America, we need America in there, get ‘em fired up again about what this is really all about.”
“That’s good. Support is a good word too. Support is what’s going out the window and we need freedom, freedom’s always a big seller.”
“Support Freedom in America?”
“That’s dicey, Mr. President. We’re catching heat for all the little crappy freedoms we’ve taken away lately. I’m not sure it will sell.” Rumsfeld adjusts his glasses, looks presidential, but not too presidential. “How about The First Annual America Supports You Freedom Walk? That gets it all in there and the you is ambiguous, could be our troops, could be the 9/11 casualties, but best of all, Mr. President, it could be you, personally.”
“Wow! Me, personally.” The president’s eyes mist over. “Great idea, Don. We’ll take ‘em by storm . . .
. . . it’ll be a real hurricane.”
Of course that’s just one of a million possible ways this could have all happened. But the fact that it happened at all as a piece of government sponsorship, organized by the military to support an unpopular military operation makes me wonder just how far this administration will go to exploit a national tragedy to shore up their own failing polls.
The Department of Defense web site explains, “America Supports You” is a nationwide program launched by DoD to recognize citizens’ support for U.S. military men and women and communicate that support to members of American Forces at home and abroad.”
Unless you come home in a box. The support, like the buck, stops there.