Presidential Compassion & The Story We Tell Ourselves

Daily Random Shit for 2016-02-07: Presidential Compassion & The Story We Tell Ourselves

I’ve seen this photo in my Facebook feed over the years, posted as example of how George W was a much more compassionate man than the much hated current president. Whether Mr. Bush, Jr. is a compassionate man, I have no real way of knowing. But I do wonder if the gesture of hugging soldiers either returning from service or going to serve (the photo doesn’t say) somehow counters the fact that this man sent these soldiers to serve and possibly die in two wars based on boldfaced lies. Weapons of Mass Destruction were never found and Iraq did not fund or stage the 9/11 attacks. But ignoring all that, this photo illustrates how this man is so much more compassionate because he’s hugging them. We all spin a narrative to understand our lives and our worlds. And the posts that feature this photo generally flow with sentiments on how much better things were when there was a white man in the White House and we were willing to send our troops to any part of the globe where we wanted, to kill and torture anyone we thought might do us harm. “Burn the village in order to save the people,” is how it was put by troops serving in Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s. Imperial America led by a loving man from Texas, that’s what this photo probably says to those who fondly remember those days. I tend to see a farmer spending time with his cattle as they’re being led to slaughter. Sad. He spent the country’s resources and the lives of these young men and women on violence that had nothing to do with the wrongs that had been done to us on 9/11. I wonder if he’s really saying to them that he’s sorry for how much his lie is going to cost them… Maybe. But those who post the photo wouldn’t believe it, even if they were sitting in the plane overhearing the apologies. All they see is a president hugging troops, thinking how compassionate he is and not wanting to imagine that here is a man willing to wager human lives in an unjust cause. And they will probably never see that in this photo, because that’s not the America they believe in. All I can say is that’s really sad.

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