The Retirement of George W. Bush

No President Left Behind

No President Left Behind

Yes in one week President George W. Bush will be voted out of office, and tonight I performed what will most likely be my last performance of my play The Re-Education of George W. Bush—No President Left Behind! I can’t imagine anyone wanting to  book it after the election even though the play ultimately is not about George W. and much more about us.

I performed the play tonight in Cookeville, TN at Tennessee Tech’s Backdoor Playhouse. I feel bitter sweet about laying this one down. It is one of my most ambition plays, much more complex than Homo No Mo even though it contains many of the same characters (Marvin, Chad, Tex, Rev. Meadows and Vlad). In this play I appear as myself three different times speaking about my mother,  her life, her death and her values.

In the play I also get to break out from simply gay issues and provide a series of lessons for the president about skin privilege, male privilege, the environment (and the impact our diets have on it), foreign policy, institutionalized homophobia, and change–the sort of change that needs to happen for those of us raised in a world where we have been programmed to be racist, sexist, homophobic, wasteful and violent.

Marvin Bloom, who now has branched off into his own stuff with YouTube videos and features on podcasts, serves as the host of the play. (Oh and don’t forget to vote for Trans-Ponder podcast at the Podcast Awards.)  In the Bush play Marvin is still ex-gay and a strong Bush supporter. Even so he gets to share some of the most important material including the fact that after the American and British allied forces liberated the concentration camps in Nazi Germany, they free all the prisoners EXCEPT the homosexuals. These we sent back to prison to finish their sentence. This deeply moves Marvin who finally squeaks out the statement, “But we’re the good guys.”

Vlad gives a foreign policy lesson letting the audience know where Osama Bin Laden came from, who trained him and brought him to Afghanistan. (That would be U.S.) He then does a Russian Folk Pop Interpretive Dance for Condoleezza Rice.

I will get to use some of the segments elsewhere. Just this weekend at the Our Family Matters conference in Nashville, I perform the scene where Rev. Dr. Meadows speaks about the sin of Sodom. He reminds the audience that the mob of Sodomites wanting to have sex with Lot’s two visitors has “nothing to do with what happens in the happy homes of lesbian and gay couples and much more to do with what happened at say Abu Ghraib prison.”

Tex shares with the audience just how different his life was when he lived for one week as a Black woman. This monologue is based on interviews I conducted with Black women living in the Hartford, CT area. I recently performed this scene as part of a diversity training for a school in Connecticut.

But as a whole play, I think it is over 🙁 I may have an audio of it from when I performed it this summer at the Friends General Conference. I doubt I will produce a video of it, although I may publish the script some time.

Through my art I process so much of my life and pain. I worked on the Bush play as my mother slowly died of cancer. After she passed away, I was finally able to finish and only then realized that I needed to include her in the play. The performances served as a means for me to mourn her loss and share her wisdom and light with others. I feel as if I carried her through this play this past 18 months since I premiered The Re-Education of George W. Bush in Portland, OR.

Since then I have performed it in Hartford, CT, Sarasota, FL, Narrowsburg, NY (near where I grew up), Washington, DC,  Johnston, PA, Memphis, TN, Providence, RI, Vancouver, BC, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Malta, and Sweden.

My only regret is that I did not get to perform it more in the USA. Sadly many event organizers felts frightened that the play was too political and that they would get into some sort of trouble. To me that indicates that we are ALREADY in trouble, trouble that will take more than one new president to resolve.

I feel bitter sweet. I know I still carry my mother with me. Since her death I have felt a fearlessness that I never knew before. I feel grateful that we will move on from what has been eight years of a descent into political darkness perpetuated by the most corrupt government in my lifetime and perhaps in our entire history. We have deepened  our bloody history and have done dreadful things in Afghanistan and Iraq, and today are far less secure in the world than before we launched our wars of revenge.

I’m ready for a new day and to work towards a better future. John McCain says that Senator Obama is not ready to lead, that he is not tested. McCain has already been tested and has failed that test. He knows war. We need something different. We need to emerge from an old America of racism and violence and sexism and waste and homophobia. One man will not lead us out of that mess. We each have a part.

The Re-Education of George W. Bush was never about the president. It is about each one of us who have a George Bush inside of us needing to be educated. He may be out of office soon, but the work remains. In fact, our work only just begins.

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This post has 6 Comments

  1. Carol on October 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm Reply

    Peterson – I never had the privilege of seeing this play, but know that some of my family saw it in Sarasota, and they were won over by your talent and by what you shared in “Re-education…”

    When you said this: “It is about each one of us who have a George Bush inside of us needing to be educated,” I am reminded that when I feel like I’ve been through something, or left out of something, or that I didn’t “get it,” about whatever, it is so true that I am not the only one. In the area of learning, we can ALL change and learn and grow.

    When you talk about remembering the wisdom of your mom, I am reminded of all that my own mom stood for: loving everyone. Last summer when my 87-year old dad got a new RV (that he takes to Texas every winter) I helped him clean and move out his stuff from one RV to the other. I found a partial journal that Mom wrote, and it was so clear that she wanted to really live that love as she met and spent time with other people. As you carry on what your mom knew and lived, think of me and my mom – and carry it forward.

    Carol

  2. p2son on October 28, 2008 at 5:07 pm Reply

    Carol, what a treasure you have in that partial journal you found! Thank you for your words.

    It was LOVELY seeing you this weekend.

  3. tonya on October 29, 2008 at 12:56 am Reply

    great job last night. we loved the show. you are the most amazing performer and with a mind that blows me away. it’s hard to stand in your presence knowing how much you give up of yourself just to keep us all educated. thank you. I posted a couple of photos in my flickr feed from last night. http://www.flickr.com/photos/uglyisthenewpretty/ you are welcome to them. if you click the all sizes button above the photo you can then right click to save. in flickr it won’t allow you to save unless you do it that way and you can’t change the name until it’s on your pc.

  4. p2son on October 29, 2008 at 2:57 am Reply

    Thanks tonya!!! What lovely words and great pics. Great to see you and B at the show.

  5. plainfoolish on November 3, 2008 at 1:11 am Reply

    Having bought “Doin’ Time”, I’ve been showing it to friends and (soon) family – just last week, I was telling my brother that he really ought to see it. My husband has begun to quote it frequently. Allow me to add my voice to the others begging at the very least for a script of “The Reeducation”. I have wanted to see it since it came out, and so am left hoping that you will come out with something for those of us who should see it, but haven’t.

  6. p2son on November 3, 2008 at 1:19 am Reply

    plainfoolish, I hear you. I am currently in talks with FGC to see if they will release an audio CD of my plenary this summer when I performed the play. I think they fear that they will not sell enough. I think they will sell plenty from the sort of responses that I have been getting. The audio will work VERY well as it is a text driven play (well except of course for Vlad’s dance, but maybe I will film that for you 😉

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