L. Neil Smith's
Number 292, October 10, 2004

"It's not what it is. It's what it means."

On Presidents and Plant Life
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to TLE

Jonathan David Morris: Good evening. I'm Jonathan David Morris, and I'm here with two very distinguished members of the plant life community—a bush and a tree—both of which live and work in the mulch outside my house. Tonight, these mostly inanimate objects will weigh-in on Round No. 1 of the Bush/Kerry debates, adding their own thoughts on behalf of the candidates. Gentlemen, thank you for being here.

Mr. Bush: Thanks, JDM.

Mr. Tree: Thanks for having us.

JDM: Representing the Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry, this evening is the tree. Mr. Tree, our first question is for you: John Kerry believes he could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11. Do you?

Mr. Tree: Yes, I do. But before I answer further, sir, let me just say for the sake of full disclosure that John Kerry and I are distant relatives—cousins nine times removed, or some such equation—dating all the way back to the talking tree in The Wizard of Oz. Let's just say an early tree hugger worked backstage and leave it at that, okay? Now, in answer to your question, yes, I do believe John Kerry believes he could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11. I believe he believes it deeply. And I believe he believes we need a believable foreign policy. George Bush is a liar. Believe me. John Kerry fought in 'Nam. And he'll fight for the middle class.

JDM: Mr. Bush, your rebuttal on the president's behalf?

Mr. Bush: I, too, would like to say for the sake of full disclosure that I'm related to a candidate, though in my case it's George Bush and, ironically, only by marriage (I'm with the family Welch). But anyway, in answer to your question, yes, September 11th changed the way America must look at the world.

JDM: Well, with all due respect, sir, that doesn't answer my question at all. What I asked was, would the president stop a second 9/11 better than Kerry?

Mr. Bush: I think he'd stop 'em both and make it back in time for dinner. But look, you're off on a tangent here. I'm a bush, all right? We're planting the seeds of freedom all over the place. Liberty's on the march. And you know what? This couldn't've happened if it weren't for 9/11. Don't you see? John Kerry hates freedom. If he had it his way, 9/11 would not have occurred.

Mr. Tree: That's not true.

JDM: Mr. Tree, your response?

Mr. Tree: It's not true. John Kerry would not have prevented 9/11, and I resent Mr. Bush for saying that. John Kerry's gone out of his way to disarm our armed forces, all right? And he's gone out of his way to disable our intelligence agencies. Check the Senate record. I assure you, as president, John Kerry will maintain a strong overseas presence, and he'll underfund any program we need to deal with the people who hate us because of it. No one can bring about another 9/11 better than John Kerry. In fact, it'll be the first thing he does once he gets into office. Guaranteed. He fought in Vietnam.

JDM: But only a moment ago you said Kerry could stop another 9/11.

Mr. Tree: Believe me now. Back then, I was lying.

JDM: Um, okay. Well, moving right along, let's stick with Vietnam for a moment. Mr. Tree, much has been made of the fact that John Kerry fought in that war—

Mr. Tree: That's right. He's a war hero.

JDM: Yet most folks seem to think the Vietnam War was wrong.

Mr. Tree: Which is why he came out against it and confessed to war crimes.

JDM: Right. Well, let me ask you, then, if Vietnam hadn't happened, would Kerry even have anything left to run on? And as a follow-up question, why, if he thought it was wrong, has he chosen to make Vietnam so central to his campaign?

Mr. Tree: You want to talk about wrong wars, JDM? Let's talk about Iraq. Iraq is the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. As president, John Kerry will wage all the right wars in all the right places. North Korea. Syria. You name it. Japan. And I'll tell you something else: He'll get help from other countries. John Kerry believes it's wrong to beat up on somebody, unless you beat them up with your friends.

JDM: You're dodging the question, Mr. Tree.

Mr. Tree: And yet you say nothing about George Bush dodging the draft, or smoking pot without inhaling, or oppressing middle America, while Kerry was off fighting in Vietnam. What a double standard. You ought to be ashamed.

JDM: A fair point. Mr. Bush, would you care to respond to that?

Mr. Bush: Yes, I would. The president may have been smart enough to stay out of Vietnam, but he was dumb enough to wage war in Iraq, and he's dumb enough to stay the course there—no matter how many terrorists it may spawn. We will have another draft, sir, so stop pounding your chest. George Bush is as much a war criminal as John Kerry, and if you elect him again he will prove it.

JDM: I'm sorry. Did you say "war criminal"? Didn't you mean to say "war hero"?

Mr. Bush: Well, it's hard to say, one way or another, because Mr. Tree is a flip-flopper—just like John Kerry. He leans whichever way the wind blows. His bark is no worse than his bite.

JDM: So you're saying he's anti-war, then?

Mr. Bush: You bet. And being anti-war is no way to win. As president, George Bush has done his best to hide what's going on in Iraq, to put a happy face on it, because happy faces make people happy, and making people happy is what presidents do. Our soldiers are happy now; they won't be, under Kerry. So George Bush miscalculated the aftermath of Operation Overthrow-the-Iraqi-Government. So what? Let's see you put two and two together. It's hard work.

JDM: All right, well, quite frankly, Mr. Bush, you're not making any sense anymore. And neither are you, Mr. Tree. I'm sorry I even decided to do this interview. Let's wrap it up. We have time for one more question. Mr. Bush, according to a recent report, Saddam Hussein is thinking of running for president, if, or when, elections take place in Iraq. Polls apparently show he stands a chance of winning. George Bush has said all along elections are crucial to the future and freedom of that country. If Saddam wins, though, wouldn't it create a real paradox?

Mr. Bush: Well, he won't, so forget it.

JDM: How do you know that?

Mr. Bush: Because we won't let him. We've put too much into making Iraq a democracy to allow for that democratic outcome.

JDM: But couldn't you make the case that that country was actually better off under Saddam? I mean, the guy was a tyrant—there's no doubt about it. But at least he kept things in order. Things are worse for us now than ever before.

Mr. Bush: Listen, the time has come to uproot evil. We're planting the seeds of freedom.

JDM: You said that already. Mr. Tree, anything to add on John Kerry's behalf?

Mr. Tree: What the world needs now is love, sir. But tough love. John Kerry's no peacenik. He voted for the war in Iraq, but only so he could vote against it. That's the kind of forethought we need in a leader. John Kerry understands that the fastest way into men's hearts is a heat-seeking missile. As president, he will wage a thousand Vietnams, so that Vietnams won't have to happen ever again. I hope what I'm saying is clear now. Please hug me. I'm cold.

JDM: Thanks, but I'll pass. Anyway, there you have it, folks. We reap what we sow. Until next time, I'm Jonathan David Morris, and I approved this interview.

Jonathan David Morris writes a weekly column on politics and personal freedoms for "The Aquarian." His website is www.readjdm.com, and he can be reached at jdm@readjdm.com.


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Serenity: The Official Movie Website

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