It's rare for me to post twice in the same week, let alone the same day, but I feel compelled. A lot has been made of the shoe throwing that happened this week towards GWB - I like the headlines that make fun of the fact that shoe-throwing in Islamic countries is a sign of disrespect, but apparently is okay every where else. It brings a nice bit of realism to what is becoming an overinflated ideological identity, an us vs. them mentality that just isn't true. Throwing shoes at people = not a sign of respect pretty much universally.
As anyone who has read past blogs might realize, there have been a lot of changes in this country in the eight years that GWB has been in office, many of which I have vehemently disagreed with. I can't stand listening to him talk, I think of him with distaste that our President could have brought the office to such a bumbling disprespected conclusion. Yet, I and many others are guilty of exactly what Congress and Big Business want us to do - blame the figurehead. Presidents have some power, but by far the most power resides with Congress and lobbyist. It's not flashy in the same way that the latest recession doesn't have one cause - it's a lot of minor details that most people get bogged down on. Don't get me wrong - the Presidential right to pardon is probably one of the most abused privileges of office in my opinion; however, presidents just don't get to do a whole lot besides be figureheads.
That being said, as much as I decry this presidency, it is not right to put all the blame with Bush and act as if it will all be better once Obama is in office. True, he's already lining up a talented cabinet. He will still have to deal with Congress and Big Business in the same way that every president has since the birth of the corporation. Money is what talks, people. Money is what put Bush in power and kept him there. Money is what has allowed people to look the other way as atrocities are committed. After all, look at Oskar Schindler...yes, he saved a lot people, but if he and other businessmen had taken a stand against slave labor and Nazi fanaticism do you think history would have quite turned out the same?
Alright...stepping away from Godwin's law and back to the point - it's wrong to place the blame for the failures of this country squarely on Bush's shoulders. He's a figurehead. He's been a participant in a very unpopular movement which has a right to a backlash. He is not the devil. He is a man, and at the end of the day when I see the videos of him being shunned at G20 and having shoes thrown at him (he's a world leader!!) I feel pity for a man that like many of us has gotten caught in the wheels of a machine. Yes, he participated in it and helped to create it, but who among us has not participated in actions with unforseen consequences? He is human.
So, President George W. Bush, I wish you peace. I hope that when you go from office that you go to a quiet existence, a humbled man but not a broken man. Each man's failure diminishes me, to paraphrase John Donne, and I feel a part of what is occuring. Peace and the setting aside of grudges is not weakness, rather the mark of compassion and a sublime understanding that "but for the grace of God go I." I wish you the best, my one-time foe, and a happy time with your family away from the pressure of the Presidency.