October 22, 2003
Sins of the FatherIt's funny with this thing coming out about Bush's grandfather and great grandfather being big financiers of the Nazi war machine through their bank in New York that was a front for Fritz Thyssen, Hitler's biggest source of financing. Now I see this phrase going around, "Don't visit the sins of the father upon the son." And of course the good liberal, fair-minded people will acknowledge the sense of justice in that statement.
The good conservatives would acknowledge the truth of it too, but the radical Republicans would only acknowledge it if if furthered their cause. And if they used it to further their cause and the more liberal politicians immediately thereafter tried to invoke it for their cause, the Republicans would immediately deny it and act as if it has no relevance that they just invoked the principle for their own cause. This is exactly what they did in 2000 when they pushed for opposite principles in different counties depending on where their advantage lay. And it was incorporated into the high court decision too, which included paradoxes like invoking equal protection as a reason for taking away everyone's right to vote, and a statement that those particular principles only apply to Bush vs Gore decision and can never be applied as a precedent in another case.
But in the case of George W. Bush, if we take away the sins of the father, shouldn't we also take away the privileges he received by being the son of his father? If that halfwit named George W. Bush was named Fred Smith would he be president? Would he be anything? He might be something like George W. was before he was plucked out of his lifetime of failure and made president based on his name and his ability to read a speech and act "presidential."
You can't have it both ways. He obviously gets the benefit of being baby Bush, heir to the spoils of all the wars and all the corruption of all his parents and grandparents, George Herbert Walker Bush, Prescott Bush, George Herbert Walker, etc. etc. He's had the benefits all his life. That's how such a no-account kid got into Andover and Yale and Harvard.
Yes, if the son repented of his forbears' wicked ways, then by all means give him credit for his own works independently. This is something you might be able to say for Robert Kennedy, who came from his fascist father's nest and gradually moved to a position that was relatively democratic. It happened with JFK too, when his father had the stroke and ceased being such a powerful force in the family, JFK moved toward ideas that would be considered flaming left wing by his father, or by the dominant US culture 40 years later.
But in the case of George W. Bush there is no difference at all between the sins of the father and the sins of the son. There is no line between them. George W. has no separate development outside the framework of his father. He never left the nest. His development is arrested.
The Kennedys and their father were the model of the generation gap that tore apart the '60s over "that ol' crazy Asian war," as Kenny Rogers called it. The split went right through the American population. But George W. never went through a generation gap. He is still his father's generation. Rumsfeld, Cheney, all those guys who really run the show, are Bush/Nixon cronies.
It's irritating to hear this strain of political dialogue lately that positions Poppy Bush as more moderate than George W. If it's true at all, it's only in the most superficial sense. They are essentially the same. One is a growth upon the other.
(To learn more about what a great guy George Bush is, take a peak at the Unauthorized Biography. )
Yeah, visit the sins. By all means.