George Bush on 9-11, ground zero: "I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon..." | Photo: Archives
|George Bush, 9-11|
What exactly did George W. Bush do that causes people to be so unkind?
Truman dropped an atomic bomb on Japan, but people don't treat him with as much disdain as they do the man who endured the horrors of 9/11 and Katrina. He didn't cause either of those disasters, in spite of the hysteria after the debacle in New Orleans, and yet people say his name with a degree of venom that you might save for an actual villainous character.
Of course there is always the issue of media bias. Don't snort, it does exist. The more liberal members of the media hated Ronald Reagan, until the man's popularity finally dictated a change regarding the gregarious former actor. As a public figure, he became the embodiment of the American Spirit, of Hearth and Home and Optimism. It helps that the Clinton Administration benefited from the eight years of Reaganomics that paved the way for a relatively buoyant economy; it was unlike what Obama has had to work with in the wake of Iran and several other international foibles.
But, why blame Bush? Is it all really his fault?
I'd say the answer is no. He responded to the attack on the World Trade Center in the manner in which most of America responded. We were mad, and we were shocked at the audacity of criminals who hid behind religious rhetoric that was no more a reflection of Islam than burning heretics at the stake reflects the true nature of Christianity.
America was assaulted by thugs, and Bush went after one of the ringleaders. The country supported his actions, and the initial results appeared to be positive. In retrospect, we can look back and see that there was a time to leave that wasn't observed. Timing is everything, and missing it is a mistake that is ill afforded by military and political figures.
Bush is not the classical conservative that people of that persuasion had hoped he would be. Even William F. Buckley disapproved of some of the policies regarding Iraq, and even the war itself. The Modern Conservative Movement that was begun in the mid-sixties and embodied in men like Ronald Reagan and Buckley has not been revisited in the policies of either of the Bush Administrations. It is partly due to failures to reach those pinnacles of idealism and pro-active policy making that has generated apathy on the right, and the aforementioned disdain from those on the left. Bush was more moderate than either faction would have liked; the inclusiveness of moderation rarely satisfies the True Believer in any cause.
I believe that George W. Bush is a decent man, who was handed some of the worst disasters in the history of the country, and then criticized for the slightest mistakes made in forging ahead against all odds. Did he cater to a lingering animosity that had its origins in his father's tenure as Chief Executive? Possibly. Was he completely wrong? No. Was Saddam Hussein a murderer and the worst type of despot? Yes. Are we glad he's gone? Umů yeah.
Generally speaking, a politician wh
|Politics should never be so blind and prejudiced, not acknowledging what the other side did well.|
o can be re-elected must have something to recommend him. When the office he's being sent to for the second time is the Presidency of the United States, there is an element of popularity involved. I personally wouldn't have wanted Al Gore in charge when the Towers went down. Call it an instinct, but Bush was the man for that hour, and even if some people thought there were failings in the process of handling that crucial event, think how much worse it might have been with someone else in charge.
Disliking George Bush has become an elitist activity among lightweight pundits who want to feel included among the more powerful opinion makers whose own rhetoric feed the masses of malleable minds.
Take into consideration that, during his Presidency, Bush created the largest marine reserve in existence by declaring the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands a national monument. He also lobbied for more initiatives to find alternatives to fossil fuels, in spite of his supposed affection for Texas oil.
He introduced changes to Medicare that were lauded by the AARP, that guardian of all things related to Baby Boomers and the elderly.
President Bush had many endeavors and ambitions for the good of the country and the earth that have slipped beneath the current trend. He has become an easy target, and considering the character, or lack of it, of those who talk the loudest when speaking derisively of the 43rd President, I can toss much of their criticisms out with yesterday's garbage.
Do I think that George Bush will go down as one of the greats? Probably not, but he certainly is deserving of more respect and consideration for what he accomplished, and the intent with which he performed his job, with greater appreciation than is currently allowed.
To date, his administration has still outperformed the current one in Washington, and we can only hope that nothing like what George Bush encountered in his first years of the Presidency will be required of President Obama. If such a thing should occur, I can only hope that there will be a call made to the man who led us through those dark days.
Politics should never be so blind and prejudiced, not acknowledging what the other side did well. We should not be ungrateful for the sacrifices that are made, regardless of our aesthetic.