By Nathan Barton
For the next twenty-five days, the flags of the Fifty States will fly at half-staff, for yet another fallen leader and veteran. With the huge state funeral coming on Wednesday the 5th, we will again hear all the usual words and sayings and honors.
But we should look for more.
Listening to both liberal and conservative words flowing freely on radio and internet, it is easy to get confused about the state of politics and political power in this nation. I’ll spare our readers a rehash of what has been said.
It seems to me that the current state of affairs of Democratic, Liberal, Left, Tranzi type politicians here in the Fifty States is pretty simple to state with a slogan. “The only good Republican is a dead one.” That seemed to be the case with McCain and now with Bush 41. Just like the dead benefit Democratic politicians by casting their post-mortem votes for Democrats, the death of prominent GOP types means that they can serve a Democratic purpose by highlighting and praising their willingness to promote more government power and compromise on so-called GOP principles.
(My older son disagrees with this, saying that today, anti-Trump rhetoric is so important that ANY prominent GOP leader gets a free pass to political heaven because they are NOT Trump. I think he’s wrong: clearly Trump is the Great Satan in the Democratic universe, but Bush 43 is certainly the Less Satan. And even among the No-Trump GOP crowd, there are many legions of Arch-demons and lesser imps of importance.)
Of course, Bush 41 was not a conservative: perhaps the last of the old liberal establishment Republicans (at least for now). His turnabout on his no-tax pledge is just one of the many reasons for libertarians to have little love for him.
But we can and should learn lessons from George H W Bush, just as we should mourn his loss with his family and friends and show compassion for them. Even as they gulp down millions of stolen taxpayer dollars to honor their deceased patriarch. He was very much a government insider and advocate of greater government power and wealth, and he was clearly an agent of corruption in the Reagan administration as VP. And his poor reelection campaign and showing against H. Ross Perot and William Jefferson Clinton in 1992 led directly to the mismanagement and corruption galloping through the rest of the 1990s, and what we’ve lived with for two decades since.
This is seemingly ignored by most conservative commentators this week. As is the fact that Bush was not a conservative, compassionate or otherwise. The results of his administration’s actions should warm the heart of any honest and rational liberal. As with John McCain, the Dems don’t have to feel too bad about praising Bush 41 and using him to (again, constantly) trash Trump.
But consider more.
Perhaps the most important lesson we can learn is about politicians. Politicians are likable people – they relate to others, they are charismatic. They are “people” type folks. Even the nasty ones like the Clintons and Obamas are (to their own kind, at least) likeable and outgoing, entertaining, and even nice. George and Barbara Bush are lauded for being that: considerate, kind, polite, tactful, and empathetic. But he was still a powerful politician that could and did make decisions that killed people, destroyed much, and made government more powerful. He just did it in a nicer way than Bill or Barack… or even his son Bush 43.
It is one of the things that make politicians dangerous given too much (any) power. Joe Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Francisco Franco, all are reported to have been nice, popular people. They loved children, they were interested in others, they loved animals and had many other positive traits. Traits that made it possible for people to trust and support them.
The rest, as they say, is history.
If we wish to be free, we must see the iron under the velvet, the core of the men (and women) who seek and get power. Power over others, no matter how deadly that power is. No matter how much that power damages and destroys lives and cultures and societies and families.
I hope we can remember that even the nicest man can still be the instigator AND tool of evil.
So as George Herbert Walker Bush is supposed to rest in peace, I hope that we can learn enough from his example to live, not just rest, in peace and prosperity with all the liberty he and so many others have stolen from us.