What's going to happen to Laura Bush? This is a subject I've spent much time (too much time) brooding over lately. This is a woman with probably twenty to thirty (or more) years of life left to her. How is she going to live out the rest of her days with the shame hanging over her head? Sooner or later it's bound to dawn on her (if it hasn't already) that her homicidal/frat boy husband is one of the worst war criminals in all recorded human history - fourth in line only to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. (That isn't mere speculation on my part; that is a proven and undeniable fact!) By now, he's even outdone Saddam Hussein in terms of sheer, murderous proficiency. Sooner or later, George will be spending his declining years rotting away at a prison in Leavenworth or the Hague. What will she do? Where will she go? The poor woman...the poor, poor woman.... I'm not trying to be funny here, folks (well, OK, maybe a little tongue in cheek!) But I do feel a very real sense of sympathy for Mrs. Bush and her two daughters, Barbara and Jenna. What will become of them?
I knew lots of girls like Laura Bush in High School and College: pretty - but jaw droppingly shallow gals who ended up marrying pretty - but jaw droppingly shallow guys. You remember them, don't you? They could be spotted in any school cafeteria. They were the Mary Poppins crowd: "Practically perfect in every way"; never a hair out of place and loathe to give even the time of day to the likes of me. I remember this girl named Cheryl - a Laura Bush type if there ever was one. She's probably working for the Republican National Committee at this very moment. One night in 1974 or 1975, me and three friends (John Harragin, Paul Scesa and Dan O'Brien - Hi guys!) decided to quietly crash a party she was giving at her home. I guess we had a reputation for being part of the druggie crowd. When she looked out her back door and saw the three of us mingling with her elite little group, she let out a scream - not a gasp, mind you, but a cold-blooded, terror-filled, Inner Sanctum style shriek:
I never understood what her problem was. We even brought our own drugs with us.
I imagine that if I had gone to High School with Mrs. Bush, we wouldn't have done much hanging out together. I never would have been invited to one of her parties and she would not have been caught dead at one of mine:
"Try a hit of this Orange Sunshine, Laura. You'll be up for days!"
No. Scenes that weird have a tendency to stretch the imagination beyond the breaking point. FULL DISCLOSURE: I quit using on my nineteenth birthday - thirty years ago this August 16th and (coincidentally) the day Elvis Presley died - but that's another story for another day. Just say no to drugs, kids! There....I feel better already.
This fantastic speculation of mine is really kind of off the point. Laura Bush probably thought she had won the lottery the day she wed the half-witted son of a former congressman, Director of the CIA and Chairman of the Republican National Committee (Should anyone from that organization be reading this, say "hi" to Cheryl for me!) It was a match made in Heaven - or so she must have felt at the time: two horrifically mediocre and boring kids, utterly lacking in any kind of real substance or intellectual depth, bound for a bland yet privileged life of restricted country clubs, exclusive parties and the rubbing of elbows with some heavy duty power brokers. When her knucklehead of a father-in-law became the vice-president (and then the president!) she must have been on cloud nine.
Then came the day! On January 20, 2001, her husband - the man she must have given up on too many times to count due to his excessive drinking and drug use - became only the forty-second human being in two-hundred and twelve years to hold the title of President of the United States of America. Whoa! That must have been a heady moment, indeed! Of course the only way he had been able to pull it off was by stealing the election. You see, George was not the Bush who was supposed to follow his father into the White House. That expectation had been laid at the feet of his younger (and only somewhat smarter brother) John E. Bush. If Jeb was bitter by this turn of events, he didn't show it. In fact, just to prove what a good sport he was, as Governor of the State of Florida, he was able to concoct a scheme that removed fifty-seven thousand African Americans from the list of registered voters! (People of color tend to vote Democratic. Go figure.) The trick worked and as a result, Dubya was able to win that state - and, thus, the national election - by a hair.
Laura Bush must be aware that the ensuing years of her husband's "rule" (I can't force myself to use the word "leadership") have been calamitous for her country. What might she be thinking as she drifts off into what I'm sure must be a troubled night's sleep? Her taste in men aside, I never got the impression that the woman is totally clueless. In fact, it has always seemed that there is real, genuine goodness in her - a goodness that is non-existent in the idiot she married in 1977. What must be going through her mind? Surely she has to realize that her husband's administration is the most murderously corrupt and incompetent one in the history of this nation. Does she think about the dead? The 655,000-plus Iraqi men, women and little children? The 3,600-plus American servicemen and women? She must be absolutely tormented about all of these things and more! Does she realize that the two children she loves more than life itself will be remembered by history for nothing more than the fact that they were the offspring of this horrible and disgusting president? Can you imagine if Hitler had had kids? Just think how difficult their lives would have been! How does she live with it? Only a complete and utter sociopath could be unaffected by it all.
The rest of her life will be difficult - no question about it. It's easy to visualize her at the end of her days - a sad and reclusive woman imprisoned by events she really had no control over. An innocent bystander whose only crime was to fall in love with and marry a man who would ultimately prove to be a sadistic war monger. Of all the characters on the stage of this hideous play, she is, without question, its one sympathetic figure.
Maybe someday, Laura will open up and reveal what she really thought about her husband's reign of terror. Until that day arrives (if it ever arrives) we can only speculate. But of this we may be relatively certain: the rest of her life - and the lives of her two daughters - will be spent dealing with the shame and embarrassment of being a loved one of George W. Bush.
Can you even imagine?