I STILL DO NOT LIKE GEORGE H. W. BUSH AND FOR VERY GOOD REASON.
When George H.W. Bush was president, I thought him to be, for many a good reason, a bad person and not a good one. So did many of those now praising him. Okay, he got older and maybe he became a better person. But that is not what he is being praised for; he is being called a great man and a great leader FOR what he did as a public servant.
Are we so stupid as to forget the past, to revise history for the sake of some weird sense of propriety? To praise those whose beliefs and deeds do great harm is symptomatic of something far worse than bad ideas, an inability to understand where they come from and the real beliefs of those who propagate them.
“In a 2009 speech, George H.W. Bush said that Bill Clinton was not his enemy, but his friend.” (From CNN). What I get from this is that there is a class of people in this country who view politics as a game amongst friends. What is difficult to like about this is the cost to others of their playing at this game. To gain election, they accentuate important differences in world view so as to give hope that alternatives to the status quo are possible. In reality, within meaningful contexts of how the world is and will be, they only are different enough that little that is truly important will be affected no matter who wins at the game; things will remain pretty much as they are because as they are, things are pretty good for THEM.
Political opponents in a truly democratic system offer alternatives, representing different ways of going about–it should be–making life better for those who participate in the electoral process. What is most important IS their differences and the debate over how to go about doing things that ensues.
In the case of our modern day “democracy,” the differences are so insubstantial that those with what seem to be critically different political views, who possess different perspectives on how the lives of others should be considered, can reconcile so quickly. That the “opponents” can not only come to respect one another–even if the actions of one or the other is not respectable, even outright inhumane– but also come to see greatness in that other, is a sign that the game is but spectacle, of no gravity.
The truth of the matter is that other people, hardly ever the players themselves, are hurt by those so made respectable and great. Lives are destroyed and people killed. The electoral process, because it has little to do with meaningful differences between the “choices” offered is, to, spectacle, a hollow gesture to a democratic process that really does not exist.