The Truth, Mainly - 06/18/2007

Bush gets a break-finally
by Leon Satterfield

Well, it's about time.

Finally, a week ago today, we got some good news about President Bush. It was written by Michael A. Fletcher for—get this— that left-wing Washington Post, and it was about our President's visit to Albania. He's the first U.S. President to visit that country. And yes, it's the same Albania that used to be Communist. You know—one of those awful places behind the Iron Curtain.

Fletcher reminded us that "throughout much of Europe— particularly in France and Germany—a Bush visit is frequently seen as cause for protest." But in Albania, "Bush was accorded a hero's welcome. He was awarded the Order of the Flag medal, the nation's highest honor. His visage is on a new line of commemorative postage stamps, and the street in front of the parliament has been renamed in his honor."

Must have given the first President Bush the fantods.

But that's not all: Fletcher wrote that "military cannons blasted a 21-gun salute" and the Albanian Prime Minister "hailed Bush as 'the greatest and most distinguished guest we have ever had in all times.'"

Whew.

And a day later, just before President Bush got aboard Air Force One to come back to Washington, he made the last stop of his six-country trip, this one in Bulgaria, "once the most loyal Soviet ally during the Cold War," according to the A.P. coverage.

The photograph accompanying the story shows a smiling President looking as pleased with his surroundings as he would had he been in Texas. The only problem was that about half of the U.S. flags were "facing the wrong way along Bush's motorcade route"— whatever the wrong way means in this context. But it wasn't enough to dampen our President's pleasure in being there.

Then, alas, duty called and he had to come home to a country that is apparently much less giddy about him and the job he's been doing. And that's a dirty shame.

I know, I know, sometimes I come off as being anti-Bush. But that was before my wife pointed out how much the president and I have in common. To wit:

•Both the president and I went to elementary and secondary school. I was accepted by the Plains, Kansas school system where my education began when I was in first grade (the whole town being far too sophisticated for kindergarten) and continued for 12 years, after which I graduated. It was such a high-octane educational system that only 18 of us in my class managed to graduate that year. I don't remember what percentage of us didnít make it all the way.

The President got his early education at a place called Andover. As any Kansan can tell you, Andover is just five or six miles east of Wichita. I'd guess their school is probably as good as the one I attended at Plains.

After I graduated from Plains High School, I enrolled in the Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia (KSTC Forever). I was a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon and we had the reputation of consuming more beer than any of the other frats in town.

After President Bush graduated from Andover, he enrolled in a college that may have been as prestigious as KSTC. A place back east somewhere called Yale or Masterlock or something like that. He was elected president of his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon. Phi Sigs would roll their eyes at that news and crack open a new keg.

•Both President Bush and I were sired by men who were noted for their political leadership. My father was elected and re- elected as Mayor of Plains, Kansas. Under his risk-taking leadership, the town got a swimming pool with a plaque reminding future generations who was responsible.

President Bush's father was also named President Bush after his son, but so far as I know, does not have his name on any swimming-pool plaque. But President Bush's father is still alive so it's possible that he too might some day get his name on a swimming-pool plaque.

•Both President Bush the Second and I served briefly in military service. I asked for and was granted an early release so I could go back to KSTC Forever. President Bush also got—or maybe took, some say—an early release from the Texas Air National Guard. I don't know what his shtick was.

But here's a bit of frat-boy revelation to you all: Look for President Bush, when things get hot enough in the U.S., to check out Air Force One and go back to Albania and Bulgaria and breathe deeply the sweet air of true friendship.

 

Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is: leonsatterfield@earthlink.net.


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