Friday, October 08, 2004

Daily Affirmations: or, what I learned about saying things often enough from the unscrupulous leaders of the free world - and you can too!

“I’m good enough, smart enough and people like me…”
It’s a bit thin, but it’s a place to start.
At least Stewart Smiley’s daily affirmation has the benefit of being true. I am good enough, I am smart enough, and I do have signed affidavits from people who were willing to admit that they like me. (At least at the moments when they signed and initialed the documents.In two places.) So saying it over and over is as good a way as any I guess, to mind-meld myself into more or less believing such a statement most of the time. If I say it often enough, or so the theory goes, it will simply become a fact – as true as my height, my eye colour or my social insurance number.
It’s just not terribly ambitious is it?
As I reflect back on the election rhetoric of the past few weeks, I have come to know what wide-eyed passionately pitched affirmations can really do: they can affect memory, minds and polls. They can make working to end a wicked war cowardly, and attempting to reach out to allies unpatriotic. They can make black white... dark light... wrong right...
Powerful stuff affirmations.
So I’m looking for a better affirmation… a bigger affirmation… a mind boggling, teeth rattling, all or nothing, earth shattering, life changing affirmation that I can affix to some internal mental loop and play over and over and over until it becomes a proven fact – as true as my hair colour, my lip colour, or my eyelash length.
“I am the most beeeoootiful woman in the world…”
How’s that? Roughly equivalent to “We were right to go to war with Iraq – Saddam posed a serious threat… I’d make the same decision again in a heartbeat”? I mean there’s a kernel of truth in both those statements – the words are spelled right, I am a woman – Iraq exists on a map, the US went to war with ‘em – some people think I’m cute on a good day in a good light, some certifiable idiots and republicans agree with the Prez and Vice-Prez about Iraq… it’s just those annoying links, isn’t it? The connections made between words and ideas that just don’t pass the ‘Global Test’. (Or even the 'Mom' test: “You are the most beeeoootiful little girl in the world my angel!” “You were right to go and spend billions of dollars and end the lives of idealistic young soldiers and innocent civilians and garner the world’s collective derision and contempt and all to track down one smelly old dictator who lived in a hole in the ground and neither had WMD’s, nor the power to create them, nor any link whatsoever to the terrorists who attacked the US on September 11th, and to effectively let those terrorists disappear into the hills with neither recriminations nor a parting shot my sweetie, darling lovey-dovey pumpkin face!”)
“The universe will provide me with a million dollars…”
Positive – it’s positive all right, you’ve got to give me that. But realistic? Well, it’s at least as realistic as the Bush/Cheney contention that the economy is on the upswing and that worries about affordable health care, edumacation and full employment are soon to become silly old things of the past. On the brink of it really – watch: in the next five minutes, the economy will… okay, wait; after the election! Yes, after the election when the public can put aside all their fears that the gay girlie-men with all the hair (and particularly the one with the lugubrious manner and unearthly white rictus of a grin) won’t be around to frighten Americans, ruin the economy, trample on the flag, have sex with animals and offer comfort and sandwiches to our enemies. You just watch!
"Brad Pitt loves me…"
And how can you argue with that? He might not love me now – heck, he doesn’t even know me! – but he could, if the stars were all in alignment and if I said the affirmation often enough and sort of hypnotized him and maybe kidnapped him and held him in an underground cell (with all the ventilation and water and nude pictures of me he could ever want) and MADE him love me… even if he didn’t exactly feel like it... It could happen.
It’s at least as likely as Dick Cheney’s upbeat vision of Afghanistan and the elections he promises are right on track! Nearly 50% of the voters will be women! Of course the figures aren’t perfect – these are soft numbers… sure to firm up in the weeks and months to come. The fact that nearly 90% of Afghani women polled (the ones whose husbands allowed them to go outside) said they had to ask their husband’s permission to vote… and that their husbands said no. Human Rights Watch reports crabbily dispute the VP’s statement, suggesting women who try to register are routinely beaten, made prisoners in their own homes – more concerned with survival than democracy. Party poopers and bad sports I say. They should lighten up, develop a more positive attitude...
Let’s hope Brad Pitt develops a more positive attitude in the weeks and months to come - he’s going to need it…

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