Friday, March 04, 2011

Don't Call me a Fan - Rose McCormick Brandon

I placed the book on the counter and fished in my over-large bag for my debit card.

“Are you a fan?” the clerk at the book store asked with an amused smile. The other clerks peered over to see my purchase. Suzanne Somers latest medical journal perhaps? Their noses wrinkled when they saw the title – Decision Points by George W. Bush.

A surprising question - am I a fan of George Bush? Oprah has fans. On television recently they wept and swooned over face cream, candles and other give-aways.. I winced with embarrassment for them. Had they never seen toiletries? Oprah moved with gusto from one big gift reveal to another. The veil lifted from a set of kitchen knives. Tears streamed, women jumped on the spot for sheer joy. Several seemed close to fainting. I wanted to scream, “Hang onto your minds; you’ll need them some day.” Instead I pressed the off button.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a fan,” I answered the clerk, unable to visualize myself dancing on the spot, arms waving, weeping for George Bush. “But, I also don’t believe everything I hear in the media. I thought I should read what he has to say for myself.”

“Oh, I never thought of that,” said my ever-smiling clerk.

Some unflattering labels are drifting around. If you don’t swallow 100% of a particular view you may be labeled a global warming denier, a fundamentalist, a racist, homophobic, neo-conservative, an uneducated barbarian or just a plain old-fashioned nut-case.

This cheery clerk meant no harm. But her question reminded me that the name George Bush has been vilified to the point that one must give a reason for wanting to read his memoirs. After reading the book I can say that W. isn’t an illiterate cement-head. Brash, smart-mouthed, yes. He admits to this and says it comes from his mother’s side. That’s a good line.

I found out that faith in God is important to Bush, his major decision point. He doesn’t just make a show of carrying his bible to church for the cameras he actually reads it in a systematic way. Uh-oh, another label – Bible thumper. This one sticks to anyone who believes the Bible’s a book worth reading. Please don’t mess my hair when you fasten this label to the back of my head.

Am I now a fan of George W. Bush? If Oprah’s audience gives meaning to the word “fan”, then I’m no fan, not of Bush or any other human. A respecter? Yes, I think that’s it, I find myself respecting the man who wrote Decision Points.


Peter Black said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! to your simple (and I don't mean "unintelligent"; rather, I mean "uncomplicated and clear") expression in this piece, of your approach and view.
I haven't read G.W. Bush's book, but I accord with your approach, and response to the clerk.

Marian said...

Amen to everything you are saying. Thanks for saying it.

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