George Herbert Walker Bush has died. Mixed emotions as I reviewed his tenure and considered that time, thirty years ago when he was omnipresent. A one-termer, “kinder-gentler”, the wimp factor, the all-too-human scene in Tokyo where, like any of us might have, he got sick and vomited during a dinner. G.H.W. Bush still evoked a certain unwitting compassion. And, during his tenure I didn’t like him at all, and absolutely wanted him out, though I don’t think, I ever hated him vehemently the way my peers and I did when Reagan was in power.
I allowed myself an editorial or three. No one can resist the obvious: Whatever his faults, Poppy waxed principled, intelligent and courteous when inevitably compared to the current, dreadful occupant of the White House. Poppy’s son, Ronald Reagan, dare I even say Richard Nixon, is there anyone who I wouldn’t readily swap for the removal of Donald Trump? I recognize this is a function of rose-colored mist, clouding the rear-view mirror. But still . . .
And if this progression, this devolution from arguably intelligent, but amoral Nixon, to less cerebral Reagan, till yet again less intellectually inspiring Dubbya Bush on to Trump, who’s intellect is so flat that he must brag about his IQ, where then America, are we heading? We are a representative democracy and we reflect some portion of the nation’s preferences. What do the 2020s have in store for us if some significant portion of America’s tastes are for dumber and dumber and dumber?
Could it be that in ten years the Republicans will elect someone to office who will be so wretched, so amoral and indeed, so dim, that we will long for the days of The Donald and look back at him wistfully? What kind of person would it have to be for me and half the nation to say: “in spite of all his faults, and there were many, I’d rather have Donald Trump, than . . . ?” Who is that reptile? That’s not an American future worth sticking around for, certainly.
I suppose, upon the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush it is important to remember that while past leaders may have been preferred, future leaders may also wax much, much worse.