Thursday, May 31, 2007

George W. Bush, John C. Calhoun, Cindy Sheehan and Me

On my part, all I can bring to the table is shaky memory and lack of historical references.

But I can (sort-of) remember an item from an American history text I had in college. Of course, this text was lost to me in the process of jettisoning portions of my library every time in my life I have moved. Nevertheless I remember this passage as if I had just read it yesterday.

It was mentioned by my forgotten historian in his treatment of John C. Calhoun's stormy political career. (Calhoun was the 7th Vice President of the US.) I just looked him up in Wikipedia which describes him thusly:
Calhoun was a major inspiration to the secessionists who created the short-lived Confederate States of America. Nicknamed the "cast-steel man" for his staunch determination to defend the causes in which he believed, Calhoun pushed the theory of nullification, a states' rights theory under which states could declare null and void any federal law they deemed to be unconstitutional. He was an outspoken proponent of the institution of slavery, which he defended as a "positive good" rather than as a necessary evil. His rhetorical defense of slavery was partially responsible for escalating Southern threats of secession in the face of mounting abolitionist sentiment in the South.
Calhoun expired a full decade before our American Civil War erupted.

Anyway, here is the incident which has stuck in my mind. One of Calhoun's many blood-enemies (was he an ally of Daniel Webster or was it William Lloyd Garrison?) once made a speech in which he uttered these indelible and unforgettable (for my memory anyways) words:
God damn John Calhoun.
God damn John Calhoun.
God Damn anyone who does not stay up all night damning John Calhoun.
That sums up my feeling about George Bush.

Of course, I don't want to hate George Bush. He could be a decent enough fellow living around the corner from me (but not next door). Hell, half the guys I drink with on each Wednesday night are probably closet George Bush's.

I just don't like what he has singled-handedly done to my country in terms of inflicting lasting damage to its military forces, constitutional procedures, economic wealth, and international esteem and prestige. I have detailed his offensive, incompetent and vile policies elsewhere in these pages.

And like Cindy Sheehan, who has personally given up so much, much, much more than I have to resist this War-Starter's administration, I do not hate those Americans who voted and didn't stop voting for Bush and his Weimar Republican supporters. . . . I guess I don't hate them.

I do try to reach out to a few of them every day. But I'm not getting much back in return.

I will not hate them. But I won't promise not to excoriate them every goddamned chance I get.