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In the heat of the American night

By Michael Moriarty
web posted July 5, 2004

Quit auditioning, George!

Forgive my using the familiar with you, Mr. President. I'm just a simple American in exile, under self-appointed house arrest up here in Canada due to the ravages that Billy the Kid Clinton (see "Our Own Tom Sawyer") and his federal socialist administration wrought on the Constitution, the Republican Party and your entire family.

My middle name is George. My father and grandfather were both named George, which is a heavy name to carry. It haunted my Republican father all his life. It obliges us to never forget the essential, founding principles that our country was built on. The burden of expectation which that name puts on us can make amnesia seem a blessing.

Despite my decade in Canada, my nationality is still American. Under the First Amendment, I have the right to be wrong with my mouth or my pen, and do so without threat of jail, beating or death.

However, speech has never been "free," nor without a price, as anyone over two years old soon finds out. The second we can say "mama" or "papa," from that point on anything we say or don't say can and will be used against us by our parents, then by a raft of questionable well-wishers, and finally by the enemies we all make when we wish to stand taller than a tyrant.
As for the title of this editorial, it's a turn on a fairly well-known movie and television series. My first sentence to you is a common remark at all first script readings.

The role has been yours for a few years Mr. President
The role has been yours for a few years Mr. President

"You've got the part, George. Stop auditioning."

That you should have been starring in Casablanca doing Humphrey Bogart impressions is what we all hoped for. However, it's never too late for that great Producer in the Sky to change the script. Apparently, you are now doing Rod Steiger's turn in In the Heat of The Night. Steiger's sheriff in that film, you might remember, starts out as the bad guy, but ends up paying grudging respect to the hero, played by Sidney Poitier. With General William Colin Powell standing right next to you, we're obviously doing In The Heat of The Night, Part Two. This is not a television series, but a vicious barroom brawl on the six o'clock silver screens of network news and, unfortunately, the blood in the action scenes is not catsup.

You've already played In The Heat of The Night, Part One. You sewed up the bad guy role as Governor. They called you "Hang-'em-high George."

That you and your brother Jeb let Janet Reno and her federal vigilantes waltz around Texas and Florida dressed up like the bad guys in Shane and High Noon just shows that you and your whole family think "checks and balances" are about bank accounts and ledgers, and not states' rights.

I can hear you telling me to "get a job." That's your opinion of all of us Hollywood types. "Get a job" is what you told Michael Moore and now you're saying it to Michael Moriarty.

Well, my real name is George. I take that part of my inheritance very seriously. I also take the word "Republican" in its literal meaning: protectors of the American Republic.

I can't blame you for the actions of previous Presidents (including your own father) that left the Constitution in tatters. George Bush Sr. really should have known that when his CIA jumped into bed with Billy the Kid Clinton in Mena, Arkansas, to create a domestic guns-and-drugs fundraiser for an off-the-congressional-books slush fund, it led to four consequences:

  1. It corrupted America's foreign intelligence service.
  2. It broke the checks and balances of the Constitution.
  3. It emasculated the FBI — ordered to look the other way.
  4. It set up Clinton's victory in 1992.

Billy the Kid became a professor of Constitutional law to find out how to run around that document's rules and regulations. He wants our Republic to be a socialist federation. Why most of Washington, D.C., doesn't seem to know even the A and B of the Constitutional alphabet is why our house is so divided. It's why the former CIA Director George Tenet stated publicly that it will take five years to put the CIA's house in order. A remedial course in Constitutional law might be the beginning of a solution.

"Grow up, Michael!"

I hear you, sir.

"We're in a much different world than 1776!"

Yes, sir. I accept that worldwide terrorism has destroyed our right to privacy. We can't afford it in the middle of this nightmare. However, our Constitution allows for the curtailment of certain freedoms following a declaration of war. The Alien and Seditions Act, approved by President John Adams, despite the know-it-all press pundits, was as correct a necessity as your Patriot Act. You are now Commander-in-Chief. You've told us the job you have to do and, God bless you, you're halfway there. You need another four years to complete the operation. You have Hussein in lock-up and Osama on the run. I would personally prefer he were wolfing down his couscous behind bars and so would you, but we know he's getting desperate when he tries to turn his holy warriors into bounty hunters by putting a price on your head as well as that of Kofi Annan. So much for the will of Allah.

The bin Laden/Bush family connection, as revealed by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11, is further confirmation that the sins of the son should not be visited upon the parents of Osama. The metaphysical fallout from family mistakes is the other way around. It's the sins of the father that end up catching up with the son or sons.

Your impatient obsession with completing the Iraq job your father didn't is, so far, the only major mistake in your order of business. Osama should have been cuffed first, then Hussein.

This rather fierce editorial is offered with the certainty that only you can finish this job. No one can play the new sheriff in town better than you. We're as much in a "war of theater" as we are in a "theater of war." So far, our enemy has shockingly won the approval ratings of the audience. In other words, they've maintained your bad guy image and given the real bad guys a pass.

My request, Mr. President, is that you stay in the frying pan because the “fire” is a lot worse for all of us. Your plans for a mini-nuclear weapon is like playing with a little bit of HIV. It makes us all a little bit pregnant with death.

Michael Moriarty is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning actor who has appeared in the landmark television series Law and Order, the mini-series Taken, and the recent TV-movie The 4400. In May, Moriarty won a Leo Award (celebrating excellence in British Columbia film) for best supporting actor for his role in the TV-movie Mob Princess.

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