The US press has been flooded with glowing homage to former President George HW Bush who died at age 94 a few days ago. I’ve avoided reading or watching any of it, except the headlines and blurbs that are unavoidable. Old enough to remember his presidency quite clearly, I always felt he was beneath contempt and his death doesn’t change that feeling.
If you’re feeling a little gauzy about “Poppy” now that the buffoon Donald Trump is president, you may have recent fond memories of an old guy with fun socks yucking it up with former President Clinton. Even worse, you may be suffering from “that’s when the office had decency despite political differences” syndrome. Worst of all you may feel guilty about pointing out the heinous shit he was involved in his life and feel funny about speaking ill of the dead, lest you offend his family.
“Nevertheless, he was a public, not a private, figure — one of only 44 men to have ever served as president of the United States. We cannot, therefore, allow his actual record in office to be beautified in such a brazen way. “When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms,” as my colleague Glenn Greenwald has argued, because it leads to “false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts.” The inconvenient truth is that the presidency of George Herbert Walker Bush had far more in common with the recognizably belligerent, corrupt, and right-wing Republican figures who came after him — his son George W. and the current orange-faced incumbent — than much of the political and media classes might have you believe.”
He goes on to list Bush’s disgusting racist TV ad about “Willie Horton” during his campaign to be president. His cover up of Iran-Contra in which he pardoned six defendants in the affair who basically had direct knowledge of his involvement in that shit show. His war crimes in selling the American people false premises to bomb the hell out of Iraq in the first “war” we had there, killing thousands of innocent people.
This is a partial list that doesn’t include his time as Director of the CIA, his disregard of the AIDS epidemic, invading Panama to oust a paid crony gone rogue and ginning up the “war” on drugs which destroyed who knows how many families. This man was no saint. More importantly, this is all I know of the man and frankly, all I care about. I don’t care that he was married forever to the same woman or that he was a congenial fellow or that he brushed his teeth three times a day and had two solid bowel movements daily till the day he died. It means nothing to me nor should it to anyone outside his immediate family.
I only knew the man as a public figure, and one of great power who ruined many people’s lives needlessly. A man who came from a family of wealth and privilege which didn’t make life too difficult for him to navigate and gain power. Needless to say, I find nothing to mourn or feel sad about concerning George HW Bush. Those thousands upon thousands of people who lost their lives or families because of his actions, if you’re grieving the death of this man, try grieving the innocents who suffered under his watch. See how long you retain your sanity.