Well, finally. I have something to thank George W. Bush for.
Before I thank the president of my home and native land, Id just like to take a moment to, as gently as possible, serve up this proviso to our very welcome American guests. American Guests, we love you. We hope youre enjoying the wondrous splendors Whistler has to offer. Weve done our best to develop just the right mix of glorious mountains, great grooming, tasty restaurants, accommodating hotels, hot après spots, clubs, shops and various and sundry other distractions to make your Whistler vacation the best damn winter holiday youve ever taken.
We hope youll spend your time here as though you were living a beer ad, with great gusto. We hope youll come back. As I said before, we love you.
And at this point, if youre feeling a bit maligned by negative comments that have been tossed around by the local, national and the world press about the various misadventures your president has gotten you into, if youre feeling a bit picked on and peevish about such things, if youre one of the 50.1 per cent of the voters who voted Republican in the last election and who still dont regret it, please put your copy of Pique down and enjoy another pint, wing, nacho, what have you.
If, like a witness to a car wreck, youve felt compelled to come along and test your blood pressure, Id just like to establish my bona fides. I am one of you. I am an American, born and raised. I still file, and occasionally pay, taxes to the U.S. government, still carry a U.S. passport, at least until my new Canadian one arrives, still vote whenever theres a candidate worth voting for and until the NSA cracks the nefarious code in my e-mails to friends living south of the border, still visit. In other words, I am not, as my Perfect Partner says, "A real Canadian."
So, niceties and warnings out of the way, Id like to thank Mr. Bush for correcting a misconception Ive been living under oh these many years. Ive always thought I was a guy who more or less embraced change, sought it out even. After all, I chose to move to Canada as an adult, long after my local draft board had given up on sending my sorry butt to Viet Nam I might add. I tossed over a promising, if lobotomizing, career in the financial industry and moved to Whistler to become a ski bum. Ive embraced shorter, shapelier skis. Hell, I laboured under the impression the only thing thats stayed the same about me is my undying belief in the progress of humankind and my utter distaste for white foods.
But I was wrong.
I am, as Mr. Bush pointed out last week, " focused on outdated concerns." Apparently, I " just dont want to change."
Im gobsmacked! Me? Unchanging and focused on outdated concerns? Im going to have to retreat to the mountains Im figuring a week heliskiing might do it and rethink who I am.
To be fair to myself until last week, I pretty much thought of nuclear war, or the accidental or intentional detonation of a nuclear device, as an outdated concern. In fact, pretty much the whole time Bush and Rummy were trying to scare the pants off the American people with visions of mushroom clouds emanating from Iraq or rogue terrorists, I thought they were kinda focused on outdated concerns, if not outright fictions.
I used to be very concerned about the possibility of the world ending with a bang. Having grown up in the shadow of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and living as a child within spitting distance of any number of first-strike nuclear targets, mostly Strategic Air Command bases and cutting-edge weapons labs, I knew duck and cover was, in no way, going to save my ass when the Ruskies dropped the big one. I knew the cartoon mushroom clouds shown in the Civil Defense commercials werent anything like the real thing and, if ever I actually saw one, Id be rendered radioactive dust long before Id be able to get to shelter.
Cest la vie.
But Id managed to put that possible reality out of my mind. The relative success of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the arms race that bankrupted and dissolved the USSR, the seeming acknowledgement among nuclear players that mankind was best served by retreating from the brink, all conspired to lead me to conclude the world would not, in fact, end with a bang but with a whimper, most likely choking to death on mankinds poisoned air and water.
But with the stroke of a pen, with the launching of another ill-timed, ill-conceived misadventure, the worst president in the history of the USofA has cut the guts out of yet another multilateral treaty and set the world on a course that once again may lead to that cosmic bang.
And frankly, that pisses me off.
Ive tried to ignore the lunacy of the second Bush term. Ive given up on the messes hes created ever being resolved in my lifetime and I really dont give a damn what happens after Im meat. I stick my fingers in my ears when news items come on involving clips of him, Rummy, Condi or anyone in uniform lying about how well things are going in Iraq. Ive given up on the moribund Democratic party finding a voice or even pulling their collective heads out of their keesters and becoming a viable alternative.
But carving an exception out of the N.P.T. for India already a rogue nuclear power, along with Pakistan, Israel and more likely than not, North Korea to continue to weaponize nuclear material and look the other way so the U.S. can sell civilian nuclear technology, threatens to bring the whole world back to the brink.
No president has been willing to agree to this since India, never a signatory to the Treaty, popped its first nuclear cork in 1974. Reagan didnt do it; the first Bush didnt do it; Clinton didnt do it.
For this moron to do it, and then turn around and piss all over friend, ally and quasiterrorist state Pakistans president Musharraf when he asked for the same deal a day later, reaches new heights in the ever-popular game, What Will He Think(sic) Of Next.
Itll be interesting to see how the U.S., now willing to once again work through the United Nations, convinces the rest of the Security Council members to bring sanctions against the Islamofascist regime in Iran for going forward with their own nuclear program after cutting the deal of the century with India.
Okay, Im done. And remember, my fellow Americans, love you hate your president.