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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

All that needs to be said about today


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-- Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Sic transit gloria mundi"


Eric H. Smith said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Bush and Cheney got booed!

Matt said...

I always did love that poem, and this is coming from a guy who hates poems!

Bush's legacy, half buried in ruin in the desert sands, the brutal winds inch by inch taking apart all that remains of Bush's "works", a harsh and *unforgiving* place.

Matt said...

Oh, and yeah, that was me by the way. Forgot to change my display name.

And in case this does not work, it should say "Matt", not "Doublehex".

Anonymous said...

Matt, the message to me that Chris seems to be sending is that all works of pride are doomed to be erased by time. "Sic transit gloria mundi" is a Latin phrase that is told to every new pope of the Roman Catholic Church. A reminder that worldly fame is fleeting. That sounds like something Obama's supporters should remember also.

Matt said...

Good point - I won't deny what you said Calvin - but considering Chris' rightful disdain of former President H. W. Bush, it's not like I was wrong! ;)

That is something H. W. Bush's supporters need to remember as well. "Nothing lasts forever."

Chris Knight said...

"Sic transit gloria mundi" is Latin for "Thus passes the glory of the world". It is an ancient Roman phrase. When a conquering emperor (like Julius Caesar) returned to Rome and took his triumphant ride around the city, it was tradition to have a slave standing in the chariot behind him, whispering "Sic transit gloria mundi" into his ear. As Calvin noted, it's a reminder that for all of this earthly realm's pomp and bravura, it is a thing damned to eventually fall to dust.

For all the corruption that eventually brought their empire down, the Romans certainly did have a sense of perspective of things, once upon a time.

I almost used this quote by Merlin from the movie Excalibur, which is also rather fitting...

"That's it... and look upon this moment. Savor it! Rejoice with great gladness! Great gladness! Remember it always, for you are joined by it. You are One, under the stars. Remember it well, then... this night, this great victory. So that in the years ahead, you can say, 'I was there that night...!' For it is the doom of men that they forget."

Anonymous said...

That's somber reflection for a joyous occassion Chris. But maybe there needs to be.

George W. Bush is the first president to depart Washington while millions of people sang "Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, GOOD BYE!" Dick Cheney looked like Mr. Potter from It's A Wonderful Life. Or like Davros from Dr. Who.

"Our long national nightmare is over."

"Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last!"

Anonymous said...

After 5 years of watching you criticize Bush, rightfully I will note, I wondered how you would send him off.

And you didn't disappoint. This post is a classic and classy farewell to a crass and classless president.

And as others have said, a sobering welcome to Obama.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Chris Knight said...

I don't forsee much reason, in the future, to ever have to write another blog post about George W. Bush. And for that I am very thankful!

(The *one* exception is a post that I will probably be making in the next few days, and it's not even about Bush at all, but he had to be cited as one of the reasons why this particular thing, made the list. Y'all will see what I mean soon enough...)

Was some of what I have written in the past five years rooted in bitterness at how Bush ordered his goons to confront me when I was a reporter (who was at the function by invitation from the Republican Party) in 2000? I have tried to not let that taint my posts. I have to admit however, that the incident did open my eyes to the kind of person that George W. Bush really is. When I was told that he referred to another reporter and I as "those assholes" well... yeah, that does tend to rub a guy the wrong way. But all the same, I tried my best to be as objective as I could manage, as opposed to subjective.

But folks, as sincerely as I know to put it: there hasn't been anything of redeeming value about Bush's time as President. And try though I might, I have not yet been able to find a reason to believe that he was ever President legitimately at all. The fiasco of the 2000 election, that was such a gray situation that maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt. But after what I saw firsthand of electronic voting machines and then what happened in the 2004 election: no, I don't believe he won that legally (and I wasn't crazy for Kerry either, even though I'll admit to voting for him for no other reason other than because gridlock seemed a good condition to plunge the country into at the time...)

But what I loathed most about Bush, I don't know how much of this we should peg on the man himself but... the cult that arose in support of him, especially among so many supposedly "Christian" people, was the absolutely worst thing that I have ever personally beheld as both an American citizen, and as a follower of Christ.

And Bush, in the end, was found to have played those people like a harp from hell.

But like I said, more on that later.

No need to linger on what has gone before. That sad and sordid era (error?) of American history, is over. Time to move forward.

And if Obama messes up well, I'll scream about that here, too! :-)

Anonymous said...


Are you saying that everyone that followed Bush was not a Christian that is what it seems like your saying. That is the same thing that Johnny Roberts is saying that everyone that is not of the church of God is going to hell. So is everyone that pulls for Bush going to hell. Funny I didnt read taht in my bible. Enlighten me chris.

Your friend,

Johnny Y

Anonymous said...


You did not mention anything about Obama's flub during the oath. That is a major flub.

Johnny y

Chris Knight said...

Actually Johnny, that was Chief Justice Roberts who flubbed reading the oath of office to Obama. Obama happened to catch it and corrected him. Everyone has acknowledged that this afternoon. The two were spotted joking about it later.

And that's not what I'm saying at all. But I will note that we are told that "by their fruits, shall ye know them..." What were the fruits of George W. Bush, and why should any Christian have applauded those qualities?

There's more about this coming soon. And I'll be curious as to what you're going to say about this :-)

(BTW folks, I know who Johnny Y is. Longtime friend, heck we talked on the phone just a few nights ago.)

Anonymous said...

I think it was a combination flub.


Anonymous said...

I would really like some additional confirmation about "how Bush ordered his goons to confront me when I was a reporter". When were you a reporter and for whom? Why did Bush single you out? Did he refer to you directly or was this a statement about all reporters? Was this a real job for which you were paid or some school newspaper? By the way, I'm not a Bush supporter, Jeff Sykes, Johnny whatever-his-name-is, nor anyone at that hillbilly TV station.

Chris Knight said...

I've been a professional (meaning, full-time and well-paid) print reporter twice. The first time was for a weekly newsmagazine. In fall of 2000, a few weeks before the election, I was at the Bush rally in Winston-Salem during the debate at Wake Forest University. With a written invitation from a Republican Party official. I was hoping to get to ask Mr. Bush some questions, nothing too major, 'cuz I hadn't been able to get into the Gore rally and it wouldn't have been fair.

Long story short: when it was discovered that another reporter and I were representing "not major" media, Bush ordered his thugs to eject us... because it turns out that Mr. Bush doesn't like to risk being asked "hardball" questions. A Bush thug tore my invitation in pieces, threw them in my face, threatened me with violence and then had the Winston-Salem PD escort us out of the fairgrounds. Practically at gunpoint.

And the Winston-Salem cops were, for lack of a better term, complete assholes.

We were taken to the "protest zone". I might have been one of the very first people to witness what came to be a trademark of the Bush presidency.

And then I found out later that Bush's exact orders were to "haul those assholes out of here."

I've written about this before, so it's nothing new. Heck, I reported about it on the night that it happened. It caused a minor buzz on the 'net, mostly from people who told me that I should "shut up you're hurting Bush!"

As I said: it was an eye-opener.

Anonymous said...

Embiggening government, bailouts, drug plan overspending, No Child Left Behind.......

George W. Bush was the greatest Democratic president since FDR!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"for a weekly newsmagazine" ... OK, thanks.

Anonymous said...

THE SETTING: Inauguration Day 2009

George W. Bush walks onto the podium

Crowd: "BOOOOO!"

George W. Bush: "Hey Turd Blossom, are they shouting 'Boo!' at me?"

Karl Rove: "No sir! They are shouting 'Boo-ush!' 'Boo-ush!'"

George W. Bush (to crowd): "Are you shouting 'Boo!' or 'Boo-ush!'?"


Hans Moleman (quietly): "I was shouting 'Boo-ush'."

Matt said...

"'for a weekly newsmagazine'" ... OK, thanks."

LAWL, I love how people think weekly newspapers/magazines are inferior to dailies. Lower budget=/=better quality.

Not like daily news will say what really needs to be said anyways.

Chris Knight said...

Hey, I got to talk with Bill Cosby, the most controversial man in the state of Israel, and foreign kings while I was at that magazine.

Now, that ain't too shabby! :-)