By Jason D. Hill
I am a committed liberal Democrat. One reason I yearned for
American citizenship was to experience the thrill of voting for the
Democratic Party, the party that I believe houses the core values that
ought to underlie any just society. Politically, therefore, I am not a
fan of President George W. Bush.
Today I find him repulsive.
the day that man was inaugurated as President until recently, however,
I have had the strangest erotic dreams about him in which the feelings
of safety and protection are keener and more vivid than any actual
emotional experience I have in my waking life. In one of my dreams
Laura is absent. I don’t know where she is. I don’t care and neither
In that moment it is just the two of us—George and
J, J and George. He puts his arms around me and whispers something in
my ear, the outlines of his lips barely brushing against my earlobes. I
do not hear his whispers, but his arm around my neck, shoulders and
across my back is like the hug of God himself. I am as safe as I am
ever likely to be. In the early years of his presidency, whenever
George Bush came on television, I found myself torn between pushing the
mute button and simply meditating on his visual presence and listening
to him speak while rejecting all of what he said on ideological grounds.
about that man triggered Daddy fantasies in me. The more pundits
regaled him for his country bumpkin speech and his grammatical lapses,
the more I found him endearing in a purely non-political way. Truth be
told, photographs of him in his white cowboy hat, boots, and denims
jeans were hot! It is the persona of the Marlboro Man turned President.
Such photos are also ambiguous. They appeal to erotic fantasies of the
raunchy farmhand as well as the intransigent ranch boss. Bush's war
mentality bothered me deeply (and titillated me, too, since I’m
something of an authoritarian liberal). Yet the more he talked about
war immediately after the terrorists attacks of 2001, the more I saw
him as a sexual persona. I simply wish so many of my fellow colleagues
on the left would come clean.
Bush reached down into their
unconscious wishes to be protected, to feel safe. His immediate
response to the terrorists was decisive, swift and firm. There was no
agonized hand-wringing, no wishy-washy, wait-and-see-what-happens-next
stance that would only have heightened people's sense of vulnerability.
He's a bully, people say over and over again. Uh-huh, and there was
something sexually charged about his bullying demeanor. Bush is a jock.
Masculine heterosexual men like jocks, as do women. They are the pagan
gods of gay men. What few will admit is that Bush was elected to the
Presidency because of a crisis in masculinity in this country that he,
with his swagger and don’t-give-a-shit-what-you think-about-me attitude
addressed. On some non-rational and unconscious level the country
heaved a sigh of relief. On a similar level, notice how easily Arnold
Schwarzenegger sexed his way to the governorship of California. As
women came forward with charges of how the actor had groped them on
movie sets, groups of protesting women were reported in the media to
sabotage the seriousness of the charges by demonstrating in the streets
with painted signs that read: “Arnold Honey, You can Grope me Anytime.”
Intellectuals, aping disbelief at his victory, failed to look at his
rise to power in anthropological and sexual terms.
Schwarzenegger represented unpretentious, emboldened masculinity in a
far deeper way than my moral hero, the pugilist Al Gore, whom I would
have voted for—I became a U.S. Citizen only in 2002
Bush in invading Iraq—a deeply immoral act—proved to be the most daring political stunt in recent political memory.
I feel guilty because my fantasy life was at odds with my political and
moral life? No. It’s part of what makes my humanity interesting and
complex. In this respect sexologist Susie Bright is right when she
writes in defense of pornography that what turns a person on may not
match her artistic values, romantic choices in real life or political
views. It is, however, a huge part of who she is, and it is just as
real as any other aspect. Bright notes, “It’s not just a defect or
weakness, it’s your intuitive ability to take all that’s unbearable and
crazy and unspeakable about life and turn it into juice—eroticism.”
Intellectual purists who can’t face that, and who want to commit soul
violence by forcing emotional life to conform to the dictates of
political reality are simply proving what many suspect: that the
biggest breach in this country is often not between rich and poor, but
between intellectuals and the people.