Friday, September 17, 2004

Three Dumb Words! Three Dumb Words!

I'd like to take this moment to talk to America's ardent Bush supporters. You know who you are. You go to rallies and events. You have shirts and stickers and signs. And YOU ARE DUMB.
Not because you openly and ardently support Dubya, although fuck knows that case could be made. No, today you're dumb because you're part of what appears to be a new, disturbing trend amongst crowds. So I really must point out to you that "four more years" is not an argument.
It's not some magical, "tubulcain"-esque* phrase that will make all the badness go away. It's not a rhetorical judo throw that turns the argument on its ear. It's not anything, really. It's just stupid. "Four more years! Four more years!" I mean, "We love Bush" would have more semantic weight, were it not for the unfortunate entendre issue. "Four More Years" just kind of sits there. It's "We're reasonably contented with the status quo" boiled down to three syllables, at least two of which most Bush supporters know the meaning of.
But the phrase seems to be turning into the Swiss Army Knife of political debate. It can mean "I do not agree with all the policies of the man behind the podium", it can mean "I do not like the dress of the wife of the candidate", heck, it can even mean "I'm sorry for your terrible loss, and I empathize with your pain, but we are attempting to hold a political rally here so that more sons can have their heads blown off, so would you mind please leaving with these nice men in uniforms?"
Yes, when Laura Bush spoke in New Jersey this week, Sue Niederer, whose son was one of the thousand-plus who died turning Iraq into the safe, happy, and free democracy it is today, spoke out in protest. Wearing a shirt saying "President Bush Killed My Son", she was escorted out by security, and drowned out by chants of, you guessed it, "Four More Years".
Probably for the best, really, considering that one Bush supporter yelled "Your son chose to die in that war!" at her, which I think really goes to the heart of what compassionate conservatism is. And then it rips the still-beating-albeit-weakly heart of compassionate conservativism out of its chest all Mola Ram style**, and takes a big juicy bite out of it, throwing the remains to the assembled masses who descend upon it in an orgy of blood and feasting. Still, imagine how much worse it would be if Bush hadn't succeeding in "changing the tone" like he promised!
At Penn State, it was used to mean "Um, there are only 40 of us out here, but if we shout loud enough, people will think there are more of us". According to college Republican Rich Pastena, one of the 40 people who were yelling while 4,000 other people listened to a speech: "As soon as we found out that Mrs. Heinz Kerry was coming here, we decided we wanted to be vocal. It shows there is a lot of support for Bush on this campus." In fact, using the vaunted mathematical prowess I can only assume is possessed by Penn State college Republicans, 40 people chanting "four more years" translates into an unprecendented 160 years of the George W. Bush presidency. Certain advances in cryonics and changes to the Constitution will be necessary, of course, but think about how low our taxes will be!
It's happening with alarming frequency. In Michigan, protesters were "countered" by the Four More Years chant. Which I think was a poor choice of words by WXMI, but that's just me. "Four More Years" really only "counters" other time-based chants. Most news organizations have settled on the verb "drowned out", which is much more accurate. The things said weren't countered, they were just shouted over by a mob with a calendar.
Bush being protested? Four more years. Bush opponent speaking? Four more years. Intelligence community reports that Iraq is going to complete hell in a fucking handbasket? Four more years. No matter what issue, or what the protest is about - jobs, economy, war, death, environment, ability to speak, or just the more generalized fuckuppery that has become the trademark of the current administration, the response is always the same. "Four More Years". That is what they've got. No "why". No reason. Just straght-line inertia propelled by blind loyalty and Cheney-induced fear of being nuked on November 3.
I just hope any Republicans reading this column can't come up with some pithy, three-word, easily chantable phrase to use against me. Especially one based around an arbitrary period of time. I don't know what I would do.
*As a dues-paying member of the Obscure Reference Council, I am required by their bylaws to inform you that this is a reference to an episode fo NewsRadio featuring a code word for a secret society that will get you out of being convicted in court.
**As a dues-paying member of the Obscure Reference Counci, I am required by ther bylaws to inform you that if you don't recognize this one, you can fucking well look it up.