Why a Coronation For Bush? by Katherine Arnoldi (www.katherinearnoldi.com)
When England was "christianized" they rejected the Anglo-Saxon epic poetry that had been all the rage because it was "heroic" and heroic is antithetical to the Christian theology. How, then, did America, founded by the errant Protestant Christians, become a land of Pick-Yourself-Up-By-The-Bootstraps individualism and heroism?
Moby Dick is an example of how America really thinks of heroes. The unChristian Ahab, trying to make himself into a hero is despised, and, in the end, ridiculed by nature. It is not until Huck Finn comes along that we have ourselves a real American hero, the orphaned, abused kid that says he "reakons Dad meant well," rejects the Christian ways of his aunt and goes on the stike out on his own epic journey, accompanied by another outcast, Tom. He is not an Odysses, but rather succeeds by pointless coincidences and a hapless errant way.
This stumbling-upon-treasure hero continues up until Woody Allen, the least likely of heroes, makes off with any number of American Beauties, wealth and fame. This is the definition of comedy according to Aristotle who said that tragedy is the high person falling and conversely, we assume, that comedy is the low person rising. In America, or rather, the United States, it is the low person who rises through no initiative, plan or intention on his part. The winner of the lottery never bought a ticket before. Seabiscuit is really not the fastest horse. During the Depression we were to Thing and Grow Rich. Chancy Gardener from Being There by Jerzy Kosinski is the epitome of the American hero, completely without design he succeeds by the misinterpretation of strangers and a series of pointless coincidences.
And so we have the personae of Geoge Bush, the failure, the loser in college despite all the advantages, the illiterate who couldn't seem to learn a thing, the bumbler arrested for DWI, who, only through the grace of God is saved to be then catapulted to the highest office. His constant bungling of speech, like a Huck Finn who puts no stock in education, apparently speaks to the American rural youth who join the military or revere this President who seems to be their hero. Why does Clinton, despite his real humble beginnings, not receive this reference? Because Clinton is slick, suave, charismatic. Clinton is the Odysseys who went out on the road, got an education, was seduced by sirens and succumbed but carried on. It is not an American story, the story of Clinton. Neither is the story of Kerry: like Odysseys he went into battle, endured hardship and earned a hero's status, again and again taking his punches, but standing up for what he believes. No, it is Bush who most symbolizes the American spirit and so it only logical that his inauguration will be a coronation, for he is the one who bumbled his way into royalty, who had greatness thrust upon him without earning it and he gives hope to the millions and millions of Christians who see a hero as anti-Christian, unless of course he didn't mean to be one at all.
And so Bush remains king in the war of adorability. Unfortunaltely for all of us who value our children, our youth, our forests, education, peace, clean air, our reputation in the world and our art.