Friday, January 30, 2009

Where W. Went

A new post Bush era has dawned on us Americans. For those of us who have been waiting his presidency out, Bush's last day in office seemed anti-climatic. After eight years as president, what the fuck is Dubya going to do with all his newfound free time?

On Monday, January 12th, Rooftop Films presented a special farewell to W. with a screening of the documentary "Crawford", live music beforehand, and free beers throughout. The event at the Chelsea Market, took place in a large closed-off room and was crammed with people, some for the beer, some for the film, and some for the band, Matteah Balm. I couldn't hear the music or words over people talking but it had such a melancholy vibe that no one wanted to tune in and possibly ruin their good time.

Watching the film was like reliving the last eight years, but not in a bad way. The filmmaker, David Modigliani, was able to frame the events that have taken place in Crawford, Texas since Bush moved there in the summer of 2000 in a way that created a larger understanding of how his presidency has divided our country with Crawford as the microcosm. Featuring everyday people who have lived in Crawford their whole lives, the documentary was able to capture the essence of what it is like to live in a small community by the range of perspectives, opinions, ages, and positions that were put forth. The documentary wasn't highly politicized, and it wasn't about redeeming the left or rewarding the right, but about how the fate of all these people was altered irreversibly by the addition of just one high-profile citizen.

Through the Cindy Sheehan protests to the counter-protests, from visits by the king of Saudi Arabia and Vice President Dick Cheney + gang, the people of Crawford have gone through a lot in these last eight years, and have very little to show for it besides out-of-business signs and a billboard with a visual reminder of the man who brought them their fifteen minutes of fame.

Now that it is over, where from here? It seems for the people of Crawford, a return to how it used to be is much in need. For the rest of us living in the post-Bush era, looking ahead to the future is a good time, now we have that experience behind us. At least, no matter what, you can get a few free beers.

-Tyler Weedon

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