Politics » Politics Feature

The Gadfly Returns, to Tee Off on 'Ex-Golfer' Bush



While the Democratically-controlled Congress has dithered for many months over the question of whether or not George Bush and Dick Cheney should be impeached, preferring to avoid the issue in favor of electoral politics, and despite the increasing popularity of such action, another probability has reared its ugly head, namely that our feckless leader has lapsed into a state of dementia more suited to commitment (the kind where the men in the "little white coats" arrive) than to impeachment. I refer specifically to Bush's statement, in a recent interview, that he had abandoned playing golf in "solidarity" with the families of Iraqi war casualties.

Now, aside from the fact that the president's explanation of the impetus for his show of solidarity turns out to be false because the media captured him playing golf long after the event he said precipitated his abandonment of the game (imagine that: this president lying about something), the president's assertion that, of all the ways he could be showing "solidarity" with the thousands of casualties he is responsible for that he has avoided (e.g., attending their funerals, giving them adequate body and vehicle armor, providing them post-service health care, etc.), the fact that giving up a game is the way he decided to do it shows (as if we needed additional evidence) his utter disconnection from reality. One of the hallmarks of insanity, I hasten to point out, is the disconnection from reality. But, we really didn't need this additional example of Bush's state of mind to realize that, did we?

When we look at all the other things the President chose not to forego out of respect for the families of the dead and grievously wounded his policies are responsible for victimizing, it becomes immediately evident just how disingenuous his "giving up golf" as a token of his concern really is. It certainly hasn't prevented him from taking his notorious month-long vacations in Crawford, Texas, from riding one of his $5,000 mountain bikes regularly, from going to bed at the same hour most elementary school students do or even from sleeping quite well when he does. It didn't stop him from fishing in Kennebunkport or from throwing a lavish wedding for his daughter complete with all the de rigeur accoutrements. Do you suppose Jenna saved a piece of that cake for any of the wounded service people at Walter Reed? No simple, low-key ceremony for the service-eligible First Daughter while her contemporaries are fighting and dying in Iraq. No sirree.

Now, as an inveterate golfer myself, the President's sacrifice made me consider, even if just for a moment, whether I should join him (in "solidarity") in abandoning my favorite pastime to honor our troops. After all, other than writing a few scathing commentaries about the folly of this war, and the uselessness of our soldiers' sacrifice, what have I done to honor those troops? I haven't even put a "Support the Troops" magnet on the back of my car (though I did, for a short while, have a bumper sticker that portrayed Bush behind bars---wishful thinking on my part). So, I decided to see whether the troops themselves would find such a gesture to be symbolic of my respect., as the President obviously thinks it is of his.

That's when I discovered that not only do the troops not begrudge folks who play golf, there is actually an active golfing culture going on in the midst of war-torn Iraq, and that golf has become a major rehabilitative activity stateside for injured Iraq veterans. A brief stopover at our President's favorite web site, Google, called up innumerable YouTube and other videos showing American soldiers in Iraq enjoying what can only be described as jury-rigged golf courses, driving ranges, miniature golf layouts, putting greens and the like. Some examples are here, here, and here.

Not only that, but there is actually an organization stateside dedicated to using golf to rehabilitate injured Iraq veterans. The Salute Military Golf Association is a goin' and blowin' outfit that, in addition to sponsoring numerous events for injured vets, has been featured in several major media reports, like this one, and has even been taken up as a cause by the Professional Golfers Association which donates the time of many of its high-dollar pros to teach these vets how to hit a golf ball without the benefit of one or more of their limbs. Somehow, this organization sees golf as not only not disrespectful of the sacrifice made by these veterans, but as a way of honoring it. Go figure.

So, I wondered, how dare these veterans dishonor the lives and memories of their fallen comrades by engaging in this frivolous game? Don't they know their Commander-In-Chief has declared golf a desecration of everything they stand for? What do they know that their Big Kahuna doesn't? Maybe it's that they can't go fishing, or ride bikes (much less the $5,000 variety) in areas where IED's may be buried, or go to bed at 9:30 at night in cushy beds made up with 500-count Egyptian cotton sheets. Or, maybe it's that they realize that the way to honor their fallen brethren isn't with vapid, token, meaningless gestures like their feckless leader disingenuously offered. Or maybe it's just that, despite the fact that many of them may have lost golf balls playing that disrespectful game, either in Iraq or back home, at least they haven't lost their marbles.

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