It’s not every day that one has the opportunity to get a sneak peek at an unauthorized autobiography, so when I was given the chance to do so a few weeks ago I decided to act.
I’m very glad I did.
Destined for Destiny, the tome in question, purports to have been written by none other than George W. Bush, with some help from Scott Dikkers and Peter Hilleren (though, since the text is an autobiography, one must assume their efforts were limited to the editorial).
I can only presume that this work of unauthorized self-chronicling is authentic.
The prose reads so clearly like the words of Mr. Bush that it cannot — cannot, I say — possibly have come from any other source. Consider, for instance, the absolutely flawless Bushian logic rendered in the following candid excerpt, wherein the Commander-in-Chief discusses the struggle he did not undertake with the alcoholism from which he does not suffer:
The first and most important thing I realized about my lack of a drinking problem was that I did not need any help. Alcoholism is a serious disease, I have learned, and it requires serious treatment. There was no doubt in my mind that I did not need such treatment, since I did not have the disease.
I knew that I must not only forgo treatment, but I had to look past any of the root causes. And one thing was certain: I did not have to face the various inner demons that I was not keeping at bay through an occasional drink.1
O, Muse! Would that thou couldst grace me with such a silver tongue. (Or, in this case, set of fingers, I suppose.) It is abundantly clear from the above that this is the authentic voice of George W. Bush speaking to us, through authentic pages authentically authored by his august and authentic person.
We learn that the CinC’s great value of history was laid early, as far back as his college days, leading cheers on the gridiron of Yale — and that his ability to discern what is important and what is merely a kind of social footnote* was obtained at that time as well.
There was something in the air in those turbulent times. It was a time of great turbulence. What particular event moved me to cheerlead for the cause, I cannot say. […] Perhaps it was a student body whose increasing indifference was evidenced by lower and lower attendance at the games. In their youthful complacency, they favored book-reading and studying over the important and timeless struggles taking place on the gridiron.2
As we can clearly see from this passage, Mr. Bush’s mind was remarkably clear even in his college years, letting us see the kind of man he would eventually become.
With remarkable candor, Mr. Bush walks us through the milestones of his life, such as the courageous and selfless way in which he led Spectrum 7 into complete ruin in less than two years, followed by a brilliant failure as owner of the Texas Rangers, culminating in a completely successful near miss at a seat in the US Congress.
The most relieving part of all, of course, is the utter lack of spin or careful politicking that might be expected of a lesser book. The clarity and honesty present in this text is frequently on open display in passages such as the following, which literally brought tears to my eyes even as it made me shudder with deep, unnameable emotions:
History is written by the historical writers. And at present, I am writing the history. The historical criticalizers can write their critical historical writings, but I suspect that they will be dry and boring, full of dates, names, and facts. My history, by contrast, will captivate the discerning and patriotic reader.3
Yes, indeed, Mr. Bush — just as Carl Rove has the math, you surely have the history.
But I think the greatest value that Destined for Destiny brings to us, the discerning patriotic readership, is the rare insight into the mind of a sitting war president while that president is still in office — at the same time not compromising any matters of national security, for if the terrorists were to get hold of and peruse this oustanding work of honesty, they would find it utterly empty of actionable substance despite its complete exposition of the president’s innermost mental imaginings.
Instead, there are only pithy and introspective caveats such as the following.
Criticism of the Commander in Chief is the greatest security threat we face in the 21st century. This is one of the vital lessons we learned after 9–11. Such open questions brought comfort to our enemies abroad, who hate us and want to destroy our democratic values. When they see us living according to those values, it brings them comfort. And we must not comfort them. We must agitate them like one agitates a hornets’ nest. You must whack the hive with a stick. Bash it and keep bashing it. But whatever you do, do not let the hornets see you exercising your freedom. Then they will really come after you.4
I wholeheartedly recommend Destined for Destiny; I find myself baffled that it has not yet been discovered by luminaries such as Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. Not even the great Stephen Colbert has mentioned it, to my knowledge, which is tragic; I’m sure he would love, as I do, the insights this excellent unauthorized autobiography has in store.
Still waters may, as they say, run deep; but in this text there is little evidence of stillness to be found.
1. Destined for Destiny, p. 75
2. Ibid., p. 35
3. Ibid., p. 47
4. Ibid., p. 151
* Like this, only social.
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