RE: Conservative Compassion by Edmund Morris,The New York Times 8/17/05
If the point of Mr. Morris’ article is to explain that conservatives don’t wear their emotions on their sleeves and that Mrs. Sheehan should back off and stop demanding something from this president that he supposedly possesses but chooses not to show, all I can say is, BULLSHIT!
Mrs. Sheehan has repeatedly said she is not in Crawford looking for Bush to offer her a shoulder to cry on, or to have him say, “Mr. President, feel my pain!” as Mr. Morris so rudely claims. Mrs. Sheehan is standing under the hot, Texas sun because she wants an answer to her question: What is the noble cause her son died for? What is the real reason we are at war in Iraq? And she’s not the only one wanting an answer; over 60% of the country is asking these questions.
In an attempt to justify Mr. Bush’s apparent lack of feeling, Mr. Morris describes President Reagan as a benign emoter. Yet, as Mr. Morris says himself, who is he to know? Who is he to know whether Reagan really even understood what was going on around him as he was already showing signs of Alzheimer’s in his second term? It could be the reason Reagan was able to go on after his photo op with the blind state trooper was because he’d already forgotten about it. (My father is suffering from Alzheimer’s and he doesn’t remember the things he did five minutes earlier.)
Mr. Morris says Bill Clinton only cried when the cameras were running. That may be, but at least he looked genuine doing it. And Carter may have had a glass wall around him, but he still appeared sincere. And if Nixon was awkward at displaying emotion, at least he tried.
I do not believe, as Mr. Morris does, that Bush walks like Teddy Roosevelt and feels like Reagan. I think he swaggers like the privileged frat rat he is and feels only those things that interrupt his swagger, and then, he feels only inconvenience. I find it as hard to believe George W. Bush feels Mrs. Sheehan’s’ pain and the pain of all who have sacrificed family for his false war as much as I find it hard to believe he’s really reading the books this summer the White House claims he’s reading.
Oh, and Mr. Morris, by the way, there already is a historical document which reveals what President Bush feels about his own “honored dead,” it’s called The Downing Street Memo.