Inspiration for The Propheteer

Apparently I told my wife that I had the idea for this book the day after my son was born, Dec. 23, 2008.   I don’t remember this detail.  But, behind its creation, surely there was some unconscious tie between welcoming my child into the world and the eight dark years of the Propheteer himself, George W. Bush.

To a parent, children are a religion. When the thrill of youth is fading, they give you something not unlike rebirth. When you have a child you suddenly look more keenly at the world around you and at the place into which you are bringing them. And while I had been in a place of “Outrage Exhaustion” with respect to politics during those last few years, the Bush initiation of the TARP program had rekindled my anger, and certainly I was looking at that at the time.

I still remember his quote in this regard that sums up the man’s years of conscienceless whimsy, leading the fate of the world by the ignorant flow of his own gut: “I’ve abandoned my free market principles to save the free market system.”  It’s hard to imagine a greater paradox.  It struck me as nearly unimaginable at the time, that this man who had made his name by being totally rigid and inflexible in the name of his “principles” could completely abandon this to save all his friends from the consequences of their own greed.

A high school athletic coach gave me Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet as a graduation gift long ago.  His signing included the advice to refer to the appropriate chapter in times of distress, and I have found this comforting over the years.  It was spiritually dear to me, and day after day, almost painful to transform Gibran’s timeless canons into what I see as the bared morality of the Bush Administration.

But it was clear as his term expired with a sweeping voter condemnation that George Bush was already involved in pressing an alternate history.  His minions appeared on news programs almost nightly, and more of the same continues in his book tour and memoirs to this very day.  In this context, it is important to me to provide alternatives to his story, and in this case the only way that such absurd hypocrisy can really be recreated is with humor.  Humor is the least painful way to relive the pain of our pasts.

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