Friday, September 02, 2005

Compassionate Leader

I said I was tired of politics on this site, but now I say: Naw. You guys (mostly Leo) have had taken plenty of shots on the subject. Now it's my turn.

In the photo at right: President Bush comforts hurricane victims in Mississippi this morning.

The photo at left, confirmed by as a true event, can be best explained by the following article from May 6, 2004:

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

During his visit to the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, President Bush stops to hug Ashley Faulkner, who lost her mom in the Sept. 11 attacks.

In a moment largely unnoticed by the throngs of people in Lebanon waiting for autographs from the president of the United States, George W. Bush stopped to hold a teenager's head close to his heart.

Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president's hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke:

"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.

"I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' " he said. "That's more emotion than she has shown in 21/2 years. Then he said, 'I can see you have a father who loves you very much.' "

There's no denying the compassion there. There's no denying Bush is a caring person. A caring person does not a whole system make. Nor does one event make a person care. I don't know what Leo would have to say about this, but the problems with the politics in our country are that too many people just plain don't care. I don't mean apathy. I mean like what those pictures show.

It's not all rosy. This is the country, remember, that allowed slavery for many centuries and then there were those who had the audacity to lynch blacks for trying to succeed even up through the '50's and '60's, not to mention racists that dragged that poor guy behind their car in Texas a few years back until there was nothing left to regognize.

This is the country where, in the coal mining areas of Appalacia, people live in poverty and squalor and donb't even know there was a hurricane that hit New Orleans.

This is the country where our native peoplews were subjected to genocide and abandonment by the government that promised them the world and then reversed on just about every treaty ever signed, mostly because the land barons of the 1800's wanted the resources.

Don't get me wrong. I've been around the world a few times and I will fight for my country again, if the time ever needed me. I just know that a balance has to be struck somewhere. It's not all rosy, like I said. The disgussting parts of America are nothing compared to elsewhere, but they still tend to discourage and embarrass. If people aren't embarrassed by mistakes, as a individual or as a country, then I don't believe they really care as much as they say they do.
I'm seeing my name bandied about a bit today and, besides the Zeidler stuff have avoided politics a whole lot.

I think Mr. Mike has some good points here. There's no denying our history and our somewhat disgraceful treatment at times of others. But isn't that true on a personal level too?

History is, in the existential sense, a non-existent fact. It was and is no more. If where we're at is still the same place, then it ain't history. The racism of the last few hundred years is far from gone in America, but neither do individuals change overnight. The 50's weren' all that long ago, barely 2 generations away. Back then, many a racist walked away free. Not so any more.

Does that mean there aren't a lot of racists? No. It means they get their just rewards more often than not now.

When it comes to people still feeling that racism, I simply reply again that it hasn't been all that long. Hundreds of years of racism and bigotry don't disappear in 50 years.

I guess all you can do is keep walking and talking. Know what you did wrong, individually and corporately, and repent. Then repent again. Repentance knows no limits.

It may not be the best of times, but we've definitely all seen worse.
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