Andy Schmookler: Thinking about George W. Bush
When I think of George W. Bush growing up in that family of origin of his, I think of him as being in a troubled position. Problems with the father seem pretty clear. I’m not sure how it was with the mother, but I can imagine some humiliation (hence emasculation).
He’s somebody I gave a lot of thought to over a long period, and thought it was clear there was a lot of brokenness there.
Many of the destructive directions of the Bush administration seem to have gotten their impetus from Dick Cheney. But Bush was no mere pawn. We know that he came in willing to do whatever he had to do –honest or not, decent or not, destructive or not– to prevail. We know that because W was working hand-in-glove with Karl Rove, a man for whom cheating and lying and manipulating had always been the basic modus operandi. Bush had made that deal with the devil long before Dick Cheney entered his picture.
So the brokenness of W himself was important for understanding all the brokenness his presidency inflicted on this nation. W’s brokenness generated a wave of brokenness that left its damaging mark on everything the forces of politics touch, which, directly or indirectly,is pretty much everything.
So if I’m right about how the family in which George W. Bush grew up fostered a good deal of brokenness, of wounding, then that family picture illustrates something important about how the pattern of brokenness can spread from one level of the human system to another, from the personal to the global, in this case.
Nonetheless, the destructive spirit that’s been on a rampage in America in our times is not ultimately about George Bush. Bush was himself an instrument of something that preceded him, and that has continued to do its damage since he left the stage.
Behind the Bush presidency we can see something –a spirit, I call it– that stayed in the American power arena even after that presidency came to an end. The same spirit that drove the Bush wrecking crew jumped off the disappearing Bush regime and took up residence in the “opposition” party the Republican Party has been for the past four years. We can see the continuity in that the two vehicles for this spirit –the in-power presidential vehicle and the more recent out-of-power congressional vehicle—have been equally disgraceful, equally dishonest, equally disrespecting of our democratic traditions that have served America well, equally inflamed with the insistence on conflict rather than peace and cooperation. And there is still remains.
The way that it could jump from one vehicle to another is evidence that THERE IS AN IT. (See http://andyschmooklerforcongress.com/…)
It uses the people at hand, but it exists at a level that transcends even the major players, like Bush and Cheney and Rove, and the Koch Brothers and Limbaugh and the rest.
It is important that we see this “It,” because this is what we must defeat, and as the great pitcher Walter Johnson said, “You can’t hit what you can’t see.”
Seeing and understanding this “It” is what my “Swinging for the Fences” project is about. (The project introduced here – http://augustafreepress.com/2013/01/31/andy-schmookler-swinging-for-the-fences/ – and to be continued.)
Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia’s 6th District. He is the author of various books including The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution and Sowings and Reapings: The Cycling of Good and Evil in the Human System.