Thursday, July 09, 2015

Fair and Balanced

I just saw this story on the news this morning: Former President Bush charged a massive fee to attend a charity event for wounded vets.

Now, I am in no way calling out the former president.

The purpose of this blog post is to just note how stupidly pointless it is to call political candidates and figures out for such things on social media.

You see I had an assistant football coach years ago (who in terms of political beliefs stands in polar opposition to me) who sent around this enduring email forward (remember those?  Now we would just post it on Facebook) talking about how as soon as former president Bush heard of the Fort Hood shootings, he hopped in his car (with his wife I believe) and drove straight there.  He wanted to comfort the wounded soldiers.  He also didn't want any media coverage.  In the end, what an amazing American!

Then this forward talked about the nefarious current president Obama who only decided to travel to the site of the shooting after he heard that Bush had showed up.  He supposedly wanted Bush off the base so he could then get in the spot light and he had the media show up for his speech, yet he never bothered to meet or comfort the wounded soldiers (presumably, Busch treated their wounds, washed their feet, and sent checks to their families).  In the end, what a dirty socialist who isn't probably even really an American (yet, somehow he got elected leader of the greatest nation on earth?)

Now a little digging on proved this totally false.  To be fair (and balanced, though), former president Bush and his wife DID visit the base and the wounded soldiers.

The point is that we often simply want to believe what we already want to believe.

I came across this same thing while in grad school back in 2001 and 2002.

I received an email (again, a forward) that talked about how we all should have listened to senator Al Gore when he warned everyone about the terrorist Osama Bin Laden several years earlier.  Worse yet, he lashed out about our government funding the Taliban years earlier when we wanted them to fight the communists in their own country.  So in short, we should have listened to the democrats.  It was the republicans' fault that we got attacked.

Then several years later, I believe this was early on in Obama's presidency, I got another forward telling the same thing only it was Oliver North instead of Gore getting all the credit.  In short, we should have listened to the republicans.  It was the liberals' fault we got attacked.


I won't even go into detail about those who talk about 9/11 as a conspiracy plot by our own government (such as former MN governor Jesse Ventura).  Those people are truly nuts and should be publicly shunned.

Then there was this lovely nugget that appeared on Facebook a few years ago.

Oh what a horrible president!  How on earth were we duped into electing this man (who is not only black but is also a bloody socialist who isn't even really American)!

Yet . . .

Now where does the truth lie?

The truth is that both of these men are probably saluted 500 times a day.  Can we forgive them (or at least understand) if they don't salute properly every single time?

How many times do you sing the national anthem or recite the pledge at every single athletic event you attend?  Okay, now imagine going to 500 events every year and being on camera each time and then getting caught peeking at your phone, munching pop corn, or checking out the opposing team.

Or when you go to church, do you always focus on the sermon?  Do you genuflect (if you're Catholic) properly every single time? Do you dress up every time? Do you ever peek at your phone or wonder if the Vikes will win?

I'm just saying have a bit of empathy before the bashing and hate begin.

Here's another one that gets me - Bush's reaction to 9/11 when he was reading at an elementary school.

Of course, the person who posted this on Youtube believes Bush's reaction is clear evidence that he knew of the attack ahead of time and that's why it was a conspiracy (for what exactly, I don't know? What is the purpose of our own government killing a few thousand innocent Americans?).

That concept - if you ask me - is the definition of stupid.

Before we bash the former president, as Moore did in Fahrenheit 911, what would your reaction be if you were told that your country had been attacked (and let us remember, attacked in a way that had never occurred before) and that the Twin Towers were on fire (and they would eventually topple).  Or how about that the Pentagon had been attacked as well.  And that there had been a fourth plane was headed to the White House but the passengers stormed the cockpit and crashed it before it could get there?

What would your reaction be?

Should the former president rallied bravely and seized the moment?  Maybe. 

But when I look at his face and into his eyes, I see a man in shock.  I can empathize with that.

The same goes for his reaction to Katrina (and let's be fair here, how many calamities can one president endure during his two terms in office?).  The line is that he callously flew over New Orleans on his way back to the White House from vacation.

Why didn't he land?  Why didn't he offer guidance and leadership?

Well, what could he have really done?  Could he have started sandbagging and passing out meals in the Super Dome before the roof collapsed?

Here is a picture of him gazing at the devastation.

I don't see an evil man wringing his hands at the devastation.

Now this isn't a justification of everything Bush did.  It's simply a look back with some empathy and understanding.

I, after all, voted for him over Gore.  But his tenure was enough to turn my father, a lifelong Republican, into a liberal at the end of his life.  And if lung cancer hadn't taken Dad's life early, I believe he would have voted for his first Democratic president ever in 2008.

Regardless, you can't convince me that Mr. Bush didn't love his country and want to see America endure as the greatest country in the world.

The same goes for our current president.  Though I have a relative who put up on his Facebook page how right about now, we'd be living under a socialist regime where good old law abiding citizens wouldn't have guns and that Obama would use the military to round us all up and keep us under his evil authority.

I recall vividly on the way back from Fargo one evening when I told him, "Well, I hate to tell you, but you're full of crap.  Just be sure to tell me when this actually happens."

Again, I'm still waiting.

You might not agree with the current administration's policies on  health care policy and marriage equality . . . that is what makes America great, we can disagree and argue . . . but I won't buy for a second that President Obama doesn't love our country and want to see it continue to be the greatest nation on earth . . . just like Bush Jr, Bush Sr, Clinton, Reagan, and all the way back to Washington.

Is it a perfect presidency? No.  But what presidency is?

Reagan seems to be the high-water mark with people I talk to, but it wasn't always great.  Here is a list of 10 reasons he was the worst president of our lifetimes.  

But I have to admit, he was pretty damn good at avoiding nuclear holocaust with the Russians during the Cold War.  I wouldn't have wanted that job.

So whenever I see some knucklehead rant about the government having to pry his beloved gun out of his cold, dead hand, I just shake my head.

Is he that stupid to really think it will come to that?


I just wish social media didn't give all of these knuckleheads the voices that it does, but that is what makes technology and America so great: we all get to voice our opinions.  Even if they're stupid.

And there is nothing uglier or worse than a bitter old white man (usually man) who goes on a rant on TV or Facebook.  It's ugly and is pointless.  I mean have you ever seen an interview with Ted Nugent?  Here is a very bright man who is just as nuts as any far flung lefty you can find.

If you're so worked up, try making a difference.  Run for office.  Work for change in your community.  Don't just bitch about it at McDonald's from 4-5 every morning over coffee.

"Oh, I would never want to run for office and put my family through that . . ."  Bullshit.  Cop out. Fraud.  You pick the adjective.

Though they are mostly polar opposites from my beliefs and views, say what you will about the Tea Party, they got angry, organized, and did something about it.

I admire that, even if I think they're a touch nuts.  

So say what you will about our leaders (especially our presidents), but they are working to try and change things (and say what you will about the current president, but things have been changed) as opposed to just whining and complaining over things.

I don't fully support all the changes, but they're better than the status quo.  And the health care overhaul my cost others money and give health care to those who don't "deserve" it (for the record, I don't think anyone does not deserve health care, even if they don't have a job and don't "deserve" it because they don't provide for themselves), but remember the outcry over social security when it was first rolled out decades ago.

And a lot of those older white guys complaining about things at McDonald's over coffee are paying for what little it is after their senior citizen discounts with money that likely came from their social security checks.

Was this post fair and balanced?  I don't know.  I tried to look at both sides - the good and the bad.  

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