Sometimes those who suffer from the Conservative disease start out life very differently, as if they would never be susceptible to such a malady. George W. Bush, whose alpha character has defined his adult life, exhibited quite different traits as a boy. He was predisposed to come down with a horrible case of Liberalism, but a conversion changed him.
When thirteen years old, still considered prepubescent and slow to mature, he earned his Eagle Scout badge when he rescued a homeless man from dehydration and found food and shelter for him. While the scout van was traveling back to town from a camping trip in the Texas scrub, little George W was strumming on a banjo and rousing the troop members in a sing-a-long of their much cherished songs; This Land is Your Land, If I Had a Hammer, The Times They are a-Changin’. Then he launched into a solo on Where Have All the Flowers Gone? That's when he saw the man lying on a sidewalk through the window.
He shouted for Mr. Scowcroft, the driver, to stop, for it was an emergency, and he ran back to the grimy fellow. He immediately recognized the signs of dehydration with the grimy man's lips swollen and his speech disoriented, but the grimy guy refused his canteen of water. Mr. Scowcroft helped out with a little flavoring from his own canteen (the one he nipped at all weekend long) and the guy was soon smiling. Little George W helped him to the nearest homeless shelter and made sure he got a hot meal.
The next day he found the guy back on the sidewalk and again led him to the homeless shelter. He made the grimy guy his responsibility and continued to assist him even when he cursed at Little George W and tried to piss on him for taking away his brown bag of Mad Dog 20/20. Little George wrote an article in the newspaper about the guy and his sad plight in life and soon the police came to inspect the situation and arrested him for vagrancy. Little George was happy the guy had a place to sleep at night in the local jail and no access to his brown bag.
Little George grew into a sensitive boy and was well liked in junior high by the science club members, Young Thespians, women teachers, and all the administration staff who could always count on him to volunteer for hall monitor or to take charge of notices and announcements on the bulletin board or set up the projectors for slide shows.
He sat in the front row, in front of the teacher's desk, because he couldn't get enough of learning: math, biology, geography, literature, history, all of it. There wasn’t a teacher he didn’t love. He did more than bring them apples. He brought gourmet brownies which he baked at home, colorful ceramic paperweights and hand-carved bookends, both of which he made in art class, and even a drawstring satchel he had sewn by hand to collect used blackboard erasers that he would carry outside to clap out and clean after class.
This is when he was most vulnerable. He would peer through a cracked door to see if the coast was clear, if Rumsfeld and his bullies weren't hanging around waiting for him and his nerdy friends. It wasn't really Donald Rumsfeld, his later Secretary of Defense, but Little George felt this classmate's manner and features so similar¾or perhaps so reminiscent¾that in his mind he put them together as Rumsfeld as a boy.
The day he caught Little George, he took the erasers out of Little George's satchel and clapped them for him¾all over Little George. Rumsfeld detested teacher's pets and had it in for Little George the day he won the spelling Bee contest and put down Rumsfeld in the first round, making him look like a dope. Rumsfeld hammered Little George whatever chance he got; in the hall, in the boys’ lavatory, on the bus, when the teacher's back was turned. He knew Little George didn't have it in him to fight back because that meant hurting one of God’s creatures.
This, Little George was incapable of, which he knew himself the day he tried his electrical experiment. Could an electric current travel through a living, breathing body? Well, he kept pigeons as a hobby and wired one by its legs to jumper cables. He knew a car battery’s twelve volts would fire a spark plug, but weakened when traveling through objects. His naturally curious mind just had to find out the conductivity of a warm blooded body once he speculated on it. Who knows what this would lead to? A Nobel Prize, or maybe even a gold star?
He wired a voltage meter to the pigeon's head. Then he clamped on the jumper cables to the battery terminals. A miniature lightning bolt passed through the pigeon and smoked his feathers. Little George immediately released the charge. But the damage was done and the bird dropped limp to the table where it twitched convulsively. He didn't realize how gruesome death would be, didn't realize he would be murdering one of his pigeons.
Never before had he felt so sad. He wanted to collapse to the floor. But the bird, the smoke, the pathetic flapping; it was dying, suffering. Tears welled in his eyes as he held onto the jumper cables again and turned away from the defenseless bird as he clamped them back onto the terminals. He swore he could hear the electricity zzzzit through its body. He had to do it for the bird's sake. He held the cables on for over a minute, then looked at the bird. Smoke was rising where he wired its legs, and its eyes had popped out of its sockets. There was no life left. That day Little George swore to that bird during its burial out in the Texas scrub that he would never be responsible for killing, or hurting, anything ever again.
Rumsfeld owned Little George after the eraser incident, and Little George had to be cautious whatever he did. But that didn't stop him from acting in the school play or helping make the Thanksgiving Day parade float, with Pilgrims and Indians smoking a peace pipe and enjoying a picnic together on a realistic farmstead circa 1700, or winning the state science competition by building a totally electric go-cart that ran on four car batteries. Or stop him from reciting English Romantic poets. He used this quote from Shelly in his campaign speech for class president: "Government is an evil; it’s only the thoughtlessness and vices of men that make it a necessary evil. When all men are good and wise, government will of itself decay."
Then he exclaimed: "Students should be allowed to wear blue jeans to school!" and pointed to the banner behind him that read "Student Power Now." The auditorium broke into clapping, most standing. They voted for him in a landslide.
As much as he excelled on his report card with straight A's and praise from all his teachers, he was the opposite at athletics. He couldn't catch ground balls if his life depended on it. He struck out every time at bat. More than anything he feared getting hit by the ball. So, Little George stopped playing sports and got interested in cheerleading.
Here was something where no balls would whack you if you missed them. And it was so much fun to do back flips and dance and twirl a baton! He practiced his heart out with the girls and other girly-boys, even though he knew he had no chance of making the squad. It was for girls only. He pleaded with the coach to let him try out. She told him it was against school policy. He ran home and ate a big bag of Goobers, even knowing that his face would break out in pimples the next day. It wasn't fair. Why should he be discriminated against because of sex? That's not what America's about.
He led a petition drive to change the system and allow boys to become cheerleaders. After all, wasn't equal rights being touted as the mantra of his age, and wasn't affirmative action for all aspects of society and not just employment? His principal answered with a resounding No. Cheerleading was for girls no matter how good Little George was at it. He wanted his parents to sue the Board of Education over the matter, but his father just shook his head in disappointment, and his mother bought him a minor league baseball team to take his mind off it and hopefully inspire more manly pursuits.
Then he read an advertisement on the back of his Superman comic book for a secret society called Skull and Bones that promised super powers after initiation and a secret decoder ring made from real crystals. He didn't know what to expect when he rode his bike to their headquarters, which was located in a dungeon-like basement on the seedy side of town where there were no country clubs. They all wore cloaks with hoods and spoke in pig Latin about the new initiate. They formed a circle around him. He told them he needed to get on the cheerleading team and was willing to do anything. The leader told him that was his past; now he’s stepping into his future and will possess more power and riches than he ever dreamed of. Then he called out for the demons to rise and ally with Little George.
From the dark shadows a hunched creature's outline crept toward Little George. He heard chains clanking on the stone floor and scraping, possibly a lame foot sliding behind. There emerged into the candle-light the hideous thing, frothing at the mouth in anticipation. Suddenly Little George was seized by members in the circle and lifted and placed on a large round table that could spin like a wheel. They clasped his hands in shackles welded on the rim of its iron ring. He screamed at the top of his lungs for help.
The leader shouted at him, “Do you want to join or not?” Little George was silent. “Do you want to be a big shot player or an ordinary person?”
He swallowed the lump in his throat and shook his head yes to go ahead. The thing from the shadows slithered up to him, sniffed him from toe to head, and almost licked his face. Little George now recognized the young Dick Cheney. Cheney raised himself over Little George while someone in the circle pulled his head back to reveal his white neck. They all nodded yes; the neck was very white. Cheney opened his mouth wide as a guillotine and bared two spike-like incisors a half inch longer than normal (like the fake ones worn at Halloween). He lunged forward, and Little George closed his eyes and shrieked. Cheney bit down into what appeared to be an old fashioned quart can of oil sitting by Little George’s head, dug his teeth in as the can crinkled and seemed to be sucking some up, then released his jaws and came up dripping the oil-like liquor off his sharp incisors.
The leader claimed it to be some secret elixir and said some incantations over it before he held it up to Little George's mouth while his head was being held back. He poured some right down his throat. Little George gurgled and spit some of the overflowing oil elixir up, but managed to take some deep gulps of it. He was released and unshackled. He grabbed the can and guzzled down more. The leader let out a menacing laugh, and Cheney hopped around jubilant and began to thrust a dip stick down and up his throat like a sword swallower.
The next day in class Little George sat in the back and brought along a straw which he loaded with small wads of spit-paper and shot at Rumsfeld the moment the teacher turned his back. Rumsfeld was furious and vowed to get Little George during recess. Little George laughed in his face. Whispers spun round the room. At recess Rumsfeld and his friends were waiting for Little George, and most of the class gathered around them. Little George didn't run this time; as a matter of fact, he looked quite angry, which only incited Rumsfeld more.
Rumsfeld marched up to Little George and pushed him into the crowd. Little George came back at him, stood firm, and shouted off to the distance while raising his hand. Everyone looked up, and on the top of the school building a hunchbacked creature with longish arms swung down on a rope. The crowd pulled back out of its way. It swooped down dead onto Rumsfeld and knocked him flat. It was Cheney. He let go the rope, bared his fangs, and beat his chest like a gorilla, then jumped onto Rumsfeld while he was down. Rumsfeld dabbled in his under pants so much that it soaked through to his jeans.
Cheney got Rumsfeld in a head lock and brought him up to stand before Little George. Little George spit on Rumsfeld, tied his hands with a long rope, and lassoed the basketball hoop with the other end. He then pulled him up off his feet. There he held Cheney by the chain around his neck and would let him charge Rumsfeld and get to within three inches of grabbing him with his clawing hands before pulling him back. He did this over and over until Rumsfeld burst into tears and told him all the secret hiding places where he stashed the lunch money he stole from him.
Little George had gotten over his problem of not being able to inflict pain. He broke Rumsfeld down completely, and after that day he became Little George's lap dog. No longer would Little George be the teacher’s pet susceptible to being infected with the Liberal disease, but a poster child for its rival.