Saturday, July 09, 2005

A Warm San Francisco Liberal Welcome

I would very much like to welcome our newest member of this blog. While I'm getting him all set up with a blogger account, here's the post that he sent me by email. As this is an anonymous blog, his first name has been replaced by "Asterisk" in this story, but the rest of his name is so good that he just had to blog about it. He's a lifelong San Francisco native currently living deep in the heart of enemy territory. Enjoy...

The Family Name

By Asterisk W. Bush

"Any relation?"

Back in 1988, when George, senior was elected (man, there were slim pickings that year), I'd get asked this question an awful lot. It didn't happen so much during the Reagan years because GHWB was more or less invisible the whole time. He didn't really come up for air until the whole Iran-Contra deal.

But, living as I was in the Bay Area, it'd always be with a hint of hostility. "Party of 2 for Bush…oh…any relation?" the Maitre'd would say, that little nostril sniff of indignance preparing to unleash its venom at me. "No," I'd say, "unless it gets me a discount."

Back then it was much easier to tolerate, being as I was more or less politically indifferent. Liberal, of course, but I didn't really care too much about the process. Little dull, ya know? At least, until Gulf War 1.

Suddenly, with the indignance of "Any Relation?" came some actual hostility. Like I could pick up the phone, you know, and call my distant relative and have him bring the troops back.

I began doing some research with my grandmother.

"Are we related to these guys?"

"No, we're from Texas, they're from Maine," she said.

So, then, 1992, Clinton comes into the presidency, and the "any relation" question becomes less hostile and more jocular, as if to say, "Hey, you related to that pinhead? Whoo, what a loser!" Then we'd laugh, and I'd say "If it gets me a discount, sure!" Then we'd laugh some more while a jukebox played Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)".

As I grew older and became more successful in my private life, the first instances of my name appearing in credits became an issue…so, rather than have my name be out there as "Asterisk Bush", I decided to use my middle initial, "W". Kind of tricks the eye a little, I thought, it doesn't really read as "Bush".

Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine told me about this Texas Governor, named George W. Bush.

"Hey, you any relation?" He says to me.

"No, not that I know of."

Weird, though, him having that middle initial thing going, too.

So I call my grandmother, again.

"Hey, we any relation to that George W. Bush guy?"

"No, we're from Texas, they're from Maine."

"But this guy is Governor of Texas. Has an accent and everything."

"Well, I don't know what to tell you. They're from Maine. He probably fakes his accent to get more votes."

So, 2000. Election time. Around this time I moved to Orange County for my work…and the question became much different…less mocking and much more reverential, almost fanboy-like, as if "Hey, are you any relation" meant I could get them backstage passes to the inaugural ball or something.

Orange County, go figure.

I begin seeing the "W" bumper stickers. Friends start calling me "W" thinking that it's funny.

Now, though, my response to the question is getting more hostile.

"Any relati…"


Now it's 2005. My work has taken me to Texas.

More or less thoroughly behind enemy lines.

W stickers are everywhere, Bush/Cheney signs are proudly displayed on lawns, and don't even get me started on the "One Nation, Under God" billboards.

My wife and I are filling out an application for a line of credit at a furniture store. The guy processing the application is older, mid to late '50s. He reads my name.

"Hey, you any relation?"

Sigh. "No. They're from Maine, my family is from Texas." I expect the inevitable slavish salivations of Christian Republican dogma to spill out of this guy's mouth any second, and I know I'm not gonna argue because I want him to approve my application.

He says, "Good. That guy's screwing up this country bad. I mean, I used to be a Republican, but man…hey! Look at your credit rating! Looks like you could teach him a thing or two about fiscal responsibility!"

"Well, thanks. Yeah, so, no relation. Proud of it."

"Well, tell you what. Since you're no relation…I'll give you a discount."


Blogger Talking Tina said...

Saw your Blog on BlogExplosion. Loved your article. Ty for saying what needed to be said. Take care and God Bless.

7/09/2005 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Just Wandering said...

Hi, thanks for checking out your blog and leaving your kind comment. I was just beginning to wonder if there were any Americans out there who aren't under the influence (of patriotism, not alcohol!)

I totally agree that the problem is with fundamentalism...Christians or Muslim. They have their Bible and Koran interpretations very scrwed up and give the moderates (like me!) a bad name.

7/09/2005 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Woods said...

Excellent email. I think I'm gonna like this guy.

7/09/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Silent Bob said...

I just voted for you in battle of the blogs.

7/10/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Thanks, Bob!

7/10/2005 03:50:00 PM  

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