Friday, January 23, 2009

On public humiliation

I understand Bush was made uncomfortable by Obama's speech at the inauguration, and by the booing he received when he (Bush) was introduced to the crowd. I admit, I cringed a little on Bush's behalf. I can't stand to see people embarrassed or humiliated; I can never watch shows like "Jerry Springer" or even "Survivor" for that reason. As I kid I found "I Love Lucy" reruns pure torment--though it never occurred to me to turn the show off, on those long afternoons lying in bed with some mysterious ailment. Perhaps I saw it as my punishment for missing school, for maybe not being quite as sick as I had made it seem.

Nevertheless, in the case of Bush, I think having to sit there and take a few mild smacks from his successor--and to maybe hear the booing and singing, which he could, with his mindset, have passed off as the wind--was deserved. In all likelihood, this was the worst punishment he is ever going to receive for what he's done. Obama has signalled he wants to move on. Let's not bicker and argue about who tortured who; it's all waterboarding under the bridge, right? Bush will retreat to his Dallas manse and emerge in a few years as the baseball commissioner (his real goal in seeking the presidency, as I've heard). He has been and always will be insulated from any consequences. That's how he came to be who he is. The inauguration was the one moment he was vulnerable, and the crowd, perhaps sensing that, did their best to dispense justice, in a non-violent, even humorous sort of way.

Obama could do a lot more on the justice front, but maybe he feels the speech did the job. I hope not.

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