I ‘m on a tear today. First, because I was woken up by my car mechanic with bad news about the OUTRAGEOUS cost of a car repair that is absolutely necessary. It wasn’t the start of my mood, but it didn’t help.
This whole week, since the death of President George H. Walker Bush, I’ve listen to remembrances, eulogies, and critiques of the man. Depending on the opiner, he was either a saint or a demon. Not much of what I have heard is nuanced. So here’s my two cents worth.
I didn’t like his domestic policies, by and large. But then, I often disagree with Republicans over domestic policy. His were no worse than other Republican presidents and better than some others. But it never occurred to me that he didn’t have the interests of the nation at heart, no matter how misguided or tone-deaf he was. I didn’t always agree with him about international policies but, in retrospect, I see how important the way he handled the collapse of the Soviet Union contributed to world peace. It takes a decent man not to gloat.
As a man, and not a political figure, I admire his love for his wife and children, his kindness to people with whom he disagreed, his love of baseball, and his genuine humanity. He was not perfect. He was a good man who could make bad decisions that affected millions of people – even the entire world. But I get that his desire was to do good, to work for the betterment of the country.
I can’t be bothered to hate a man who tried to live an ethical life; who, like my own father, lived a life in service to the nation. I can’t hate a man because we disagreed or because he wasn’t perfect.
What I do hate is the judgment and intolerance of others. I hate it with a passion. To those who are intent on a harsh and final judgment of George H. W. Bush, I would like to say, you are going to hate it when someone holds you to an impossible standard. You may hate yourself right now. I humbly suggest that we critique ourselves and others by a standard other than perfection, one that allows for our humanity.
We live in a time where our current president can be distinguished by his lack of humanity. Let’s save our judgment for that.