Wednesday, December 20, 2006

That Buck-Stopping Thing

That picture on the left? It's a dead deer. Been there three days now. On Dick Cheney's lawn. His office declined comment, but tersely recommended to direct inquiries to the city.

It's just a dead deer, I suppose. And yet...when you're sliding down the slippery slope of strangehood, it's hard to sense the point past which you can't stop anymore, to know when strange claimed its own momentum and moved into the category of Strange-alanche. It starts with a creak, and then you feel a little short slip or two. Then a few tremors impart a feeling of unease, but only the sensitive types start to head for the nearest tree or rocky outcropping. Then it makes its decisive break, carrying everything in its downhill wake, the potential energy of chaos turned crazily kinetic, and next thing you know you're just going with the cadaver-cavorting flow, dancing tarantellas in the square.

Few made much fuss when we had an election decided by a Supreme Court, for example. Anybody who piped up was shushed as an unseemly boat-rocker. And I recall no death threats issuing from the KKK when a black woman named Condoleezza was made head of national security. Pretty soon we had planes hitting buildings, next we're hunting for rich Saudi ex-friends in caves, invading the countries of former henchmen, having Israeli spies head up investigation committees, passing out Freedom Medals to degenerates, rousting retirees back into desert camo fatigues and sending them to our era's versions of Fort Apache. Lest you think things are still normal, I ask you this: if Laura Bush starts keeping a pony in the White House, would anyone just come out and say she's off her rocker? Seriously, would anyone try to stop her? Who would bother? At this point, it would just be a harmless indulgence of a housewife trying to keep it together.

I don't know where that deer came from, whether Cheney shot it, if someone dumped it there, if a car hit it, if the Secret Service tazered it into submission, or if the Dickster strangled it with his bare hands. There are a lot of deer there. Personally I think it was dropped there by a god with an exquisite sense of semiotic irony. But now...let's just say you had a dead deer on your lawn, for whatever reason. And let's say you were Vice President of the United States, and twenty or thirty thousand people drove past your front lawn every day. Wouldn't you have the decency to get rid of it?

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