I should've seen this coming; there was something in the air. I didn't think anything could be more surreal than George W. Bush's promise to lead a serious investigation into himself—something which, if he'd done it back in college, would have forced him to realize that his future was best spent sitting at home with the Old Man asking Barbara for another beer at halftime. Yet, this being America, the culture kept right on one-upping itself. Hip-hop artist Kanye West was censored by our world-famous liberal media for insulting the unimpeachable (and I do mean, unfortunately, umimpeachable) President Dubya. And I can't quite put into words the combination of revulsion and surprise I felt upon catching myself enunciate the sentence, "You know, Celine Dion's got a real point there about New Orleans."
Nothing, however, beat last week's news that the Terminator would be in charge of deciding whether or not two 'mos should be allowed to cut into a three-layer carrot cake at a California gathering. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto the bill which would have made California the first state to make gay marriage legal through its elected officials, after the Golden State's legislature passed a measure recognizing the right of queer men and women to put one another through decades of celibate hell.
I'm almost speechless. Almost.
Arnold Schwarzenegger prides himself on being an American, on being a large, lunkheaded, Austrian import whose guts and go-getting nerve helped him overcome one of the world's funniest accents to become a man of his own making. If anyone appreciates this nation's glorious liberties, he's told us time and time again, it's good ol' Ahnuld.
Perhaps he's forgotten what "liberty" means. Here's a guy who talks about America as a land of opportunity—who knows better than a lot of people about the endless reinvention possible in a country based on freedom—yet who has decided to deny a segment of the population its constitutional entitlement to the pursuit of happiness. Here's a guy who can find the idea of Danny DeVito playing his twin brother a real rip-snorter, yet who can't manage to see the fun to be had at an Ellen DeGeneres/Portia de Rossi bachelorette party. Here's a guy who was given the occasion to go down in his otherwise cloudy political history as a person who bravely stood up for inalienable rights, yet who has chosen to be best remembered for portraying an alien cyborg.
Arnold, let's forget the president's vow for a moment—have you lighted a cigar, held Maria's hand, and seriously investigated your life lately? Talk about being in need of total recall. For someone who hopes to be a running man in 2006, you've given yourself a raw deal. You do realize the collateral damage you've caused by dropping this bombshell, don't you? You may as well run an eraser over your time as California's commando and call it the end of days for your chance to resemble the last action hero of American politics. You're officially junior league now, and your respect for the law places you solidly in kindergarten cop territory. I hope you profit from this in exactly the manner I think you will, Conan. Jingle all the way.