There’s that meme again, a jocular George W. Bush.
It does take me back, almost 20 years, with the strange effect of persuading me that my 50s just possibly might have been still occurring in the flush of my youth. I remember especially trying to explain what’s what with American politics and how we choose our leaders to French neighbors (in France, lest there be any mistake), who would ask over a late afternoon gathering for apéros in a small village in Provence, “What about this Bush (“boosh” they would pronounce it)? Is he really that stoopid?”
In the larger context of the entirety of my life, if not the much greater one having nothing to do with me of the modern history of western civilization (“modern,” I admit, being a frangible and relative qualifier; let’s just say since about the time of the French Revolution, when we pretty much validated for all time ever since the invention of the white people’s expedient of assassinating onerous and exasperating leaders of the current system of governance), George Walker Bush seems only a whistle stop (putting things in perspective, as well as context) for the great train of dubious heads of state of an otherwise allegedly enlightened western democracy.
I remember the incredulity with which many of us pondered how it was possible he was president of the Land of Lincoln (and Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison et alia (even taking into account the all too concrete expediency of such strategies as manipulating electoral politics, even to the extent of relying on a politically stacked deck of otherwise nominally unbiassed meters of justice and judicial probity in a small body of elders called the Supreme Court to convey a judgment, seemingly neutral in its assessment of constitutional applicability and prudence, that conveyed the electoral college votes of the great State of Florida to the presidential tally of former frat boy and recovering alcoholic George, as I say, Walker Boosh)). Now all surpassed, a mere eight years after the tenure of Bush the Younger by the investiture of he who already has won the historical sweepstakes for the absolute bull goose, emperor duck worst of presidents to reside at the head of our government, only to be exceeded doubtlessly by some, at this juncture, inconceivable specimen of the future, perhaps not even, as yet, born, assuming our great nation survives much longer. But then, are we to subscribe to the quaintly chauvinistic conceit that America, greatest of all nations yet to emerge on the world stage in the ten thousand year history of our race as an entity we call in the aggregate “civilization,” could not possibly be surpassed as a wellspring of paradigms of whatever sort: greatness and awfulness alike, in a terrible way to consider as a wholly neutral matter—which it doubtless is to a mute and otherwise inscrutable universe?
Just when you think the electorate is incapable of any more corrosive bad judgment, even yet, after ten millennia, driven by violently emotionally held beliefs in what they know not how to articulate are their most fervently embraced values—abstractions mind you; I mean philosophical concepts that they couldn’t begin to convey using concrete language, and certainly not sufficiently well to pass the literacy portion of a high school education equivalency examination—they go ahead and prove you a credulous fool.