Not long ago I began the process of sifting through old newspapers and floppy discs for the purpose of self-publishing a book of my most memorable columns. Of course, they're memorable to no one but me, but I figured, what the hey, surely with a body of work that thick I'll be able to find 150 or so keepers worthy of inclusion. It's purely a vanity thing, not as if there's been some groundswell of sentiment begging me to get a book out.
As I was stacking them into piles of Yes, No and Maybe, a fourth pile emerged: Bush Bashes. And that pile is already higher than the Yes pile of non-Bush-related columns. I guess that means if I self-publish one of the general columns I'll do another of purely "I told you so" musings. History will be no kinder to the Duh than I've been, I'd be willing to bet.
Believe it or not, though, I yearn for those days to return when I can crank out a weekly yarn about anything from the mundane to the majestic, from the changing of the seasons to the changing of the times. I never intended for this column to become so one dimensional, hence the standing name I've used for it since day one (which, incidentally, was coined by my wife), and I fully expect to broaden its scope once again shortly after Jan. 20, 2009, which BTW is 446 days from Halloween.
Unfortunately, those 446 days means I have 63 more columns before I can regain any sense of humor in my writing or sense of balance in my life. Sixty-three more weeks to continue pleading with anybody who'll listen that the path this W person has put us on is the real-life equivalent of "Last Stop Willoughby," the "Twilight Zone" episode in which the distraught train traveler is on a one-way track to oblivion. Sixty-three more weeks of beating my head against the wall, fighting the unwinnable fight against a naked emperor.
I take no pleasure in what has become an unrelenting assault on this administration, but given its unrelenting assault on us, I feel it is necessary. Afforded this forum, it would be as much a dereliction of duty on my part to sweep it aside as it is a dereliction of duty on the administration's part to wantonly and cavalierly squander life, treasure and respect - and then deny it or try to justify it. Trust me, I'd rather be writing about the Red Sox' march to their second World Series title in four years, or my lackluster write-in campaign for Greensboro City Council, or my dazzling collection of conversational neckwear, or my precious wife and her battle with MS. There are a thousand day-in-the-life topics on which I could gleefully hack out 800 words, but with the country gone comfortably numb in the face of an insidious creep toward a soft dictatorship, it's hard to pretend anything else is really important.
In fact, I can't even pretend that there's hope over the horizon. As much as I ache to believe that the train will get back on track once my Democratic brethren retake the White House and both houses of Congress, there are no guarantees. Who knows if the damage to our moral authority, our economy, our planet is even reversible? Further, who knows if enough folks, Democrats and Republicans alike, can come to an understanding that terrorism is a tactic, not a country, not an ideology, but a method for a hopelessly undermanned opponent to level the battlefield. Only when we come to grips with the reality that the so-called war on terrorism is actually a war on the root causes that produce terrorists can we begin to end Bush's fanatical war without end.
That is, if we don't kill each other in the process.
Ogi may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, heard Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. on "The Dusty Dunn Show" on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen on "Triad Today" Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV 48.