- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
“But, remembering the early civility they brought upon these countries, and forgetting long-passed mischiefs, we mercifully preserve their bones, and piss not upon their ashes.”
It’s sunny and bitterly cold in South Florida as I write this, but at least I won’t have to go outside to the mailbox as the Post Office is closed today. It’s about 65 degrees but should warm up a few before the day is out. OK, I’m a Floridian. I’m not like Y’all.
I don’t seem to be like the countless millions who feel so awful and mournful about President Bush today either. I admit that current circumstances make other presidents far more to be missed but I was a frequent critic of President Bush on many counts. Was I wrong? Is it time to reconsider?
Being the son of another US Navy pilot who received his training at Pensacola, Florida at the beginning of WWII, I was made familiar with the controversy surrounding Mr. Bush’s being shot down and having been the only crew member to survive. Did he bail out while the other two members were still on board? Did he warn them in time? We will never know exactly what happened, but there was doubt at the time. There once were witnesses who disputed the official story. There is still doubt and doubt will remain. Perhaps it’s time to give him the benefit thereof.
On August 27, 1987, during a campaign press conference in Chicago, Bush was quoted as saying
” I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”
Of course, I found that more than offensive – both because I don’t believe in any of the countless gods and because of the establishment clause that I consider to be a cornerstone of liberty. I’ve held it against him ever since.
But did he say it? It doesn’t seem to have been videotaped and we have the word of just one reporter, Robert Sherman, who confirmed in a now-defunct website that there is nothing to confirm his word. Mr. Sherman was a passionate and vociferous advocate for the separation of Church and State – to say the least. I will confirm that I share his passion, if not his energy, but does passion ensure objectivity or credibility?.
Of course, the White House seems never to have denied the widely reported quote. Would the real George H.W. Bush, whether he said it or not have made some effort to counter or soften such an accusation, real or imagined? We will never know. Sherman himself died in a plane crash 2 years ago, almost to the day.
Is it time to walk away from this one too, ruminating about trees falling in unoccupied forests? We live in an age where both truth and fiction and the proponents and promoters thereof have large and dedicated audiences on their sides who are not likely ever to concede. We need to learn to pick the battles we have a chance of winning and that remain important. We need to move on.