The day after September 11, I was driving around and listening to the radio. A cop from New York called in and talked about how he was a fourth generation New York Police Officer and how his son approached him about wanting to become a police officer as well. The cop refused, and insisted that his son be a fireman instead. When the DJ incredulously asked what the cop meant, the cop explained, "well, no one has ever gone up to a fire fighter and said, 'hey, why'dja put out that fire?'"
Let's pretend for a second that taking care of the Tractor Guy is George Bush's responsibility, and not, in fact, the responsibility of Police Chief Ramsey, Mayor Williams, or the Park Police. Let's also pretend that the Tractor Guy *is* Saddam Hussein:
Whether Hussein is in a basement in Baghdad, or in a reflecting pool on the Mall; no matter what the President does about him; Bush is going to be wrong. Washingtonians are clamoring for Tractor Guy's head on a platter, and whining the whole time about why no one has shot this guy yet and gotten it over with. The Park Police are doing everything they can to negotiate with this guy to get him out on his own accord, concerned about him possibly using the explosives he claims to have in the tractor, and begging repeatedly for a peaceful resolution. Tractor Guy insists that he had plenty of food and water, as well as toughness and stamina dating to his days in the Army. "They can blow my ass out of the water. I'm ready to go to Heaven". He has a blatant disregard for the Mall's No Tractor Zone, is unimpressed by diplomacy, has embraced his God, and is willing to die for his cause. What could we possibly offer him as barter in a negotiation situation? Nothing. The solution for the radio-listening public? Shoot the bastard.
So after only three days of negotiation and begging, we just ice the guy. Fuck 'im. We'll show *you* what happens when you hold up traffic in the DC Metro area for a few days. Maybe if you committed genocide and slaughtered millions of your countrymen, we'd be a little more lenient, but this is what you get for inconveniencing OUR morning commute. I can only hear the call-ins now. This is a violation of Freedom of Speech! We could have negotiated with him longer! Dubya and his Gestapo are at it again! What kind of example are we setting in the Capital of our Nation when we can't allow ONE PEACEFUL PROTEST to go on in the President's own front lawn?!?!
The point? The President of the United States has got the worst job in the world. I'd rather have to count the rats in Adams Morgan than have to do that. They say you can't please all of the people all of the time, but man, there are people out there who go out of their way to be displeased. Maybe we should all listen to that cop and when any child ever says that they want to be the President when they grow up, we all make a vow to tell them to be Firefighters instead.
The real point is that the "if Dubya can't get the tractor guy, how can he fight a war" joke is just unfunny.
The actual funny joke in this situation is a variation on "hey, for once a tobacco farmer has got D.C. by the short hairs."