My mom sent me a printout of this article from Salon.com. It's by a woman who calls herself liberal, but who has great admiration for Laura Bush. I didn't find my own esteem of Ms. Bush affected in the same way. Instead, I felt deepening bewilderment and sadness about her.
The author lists a lot of interesting and admirable traits about Laura's life. She talks about Laura's "integrity, unpretentiousness and intelligence." My confusion stems from trying to reconcile this with the fact that she continues to sleep in the same bed with a man who, confronted with the proof of conspiracy to commit treason by Cheney, Rove, and Libby, yet refused to ask even for anyone's resignation, much less prosecution; who ordered the invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation without cause, and lied to get the authorization for it; who blatantly broke the FISA law; who allowed or ordered torture of perceived enemies, some of who are innocent, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention; who commissioned a study on global warming, and then swept the study under the rug when the conclusion came that human-caused global climate change threatens the future of the planet, mankind, and our children; who refused to hold anyone accountable (except underlings who were themselves victims) when the crimes of Abu Ghraib and others came to light – and she has, to my knowledge, still spoken not one word of protest against those acts.
I think of the quote from Martin Luthur King, Jr., that is permanently posted on the left column of this blog.
Other people of integrity have chosen to at least resign their positions, as a number of diplomats in the US and officials in the UK did following the invasion of Iraq. I find these people admirable and understandable.
Laura Bush, however, appears to hold a great deal of power. Apparently George holds her in great esteem. Yet I have seen nothing to indicate that she has ever spoken out against him, even in private; nor has she taken any action, such as removing herself from the White House until and unless he changes his policies. She continues to live with, and apparently sleep with and condone, a war criminal.
Ms. Sittenfield says Laura Bush is a role model for Americans. I respectfully disagree. The First Lady's refusal to take any action against her husband's criminal and cowardly acts and his policies that damage and disgrace the American society, people, and environment is not worthy of emulation. It is, at best, abdication of responsibility.
My confusion grows, however, when I think about what I would do if the war criminal were someone I loved – if it were Kristin, or Trinidad, or my brother. I'm not sure I would do differently, though I hope I would; but I'm not putting myself up as a role model, either. I don't know whether she's taken George to task privately; whether his recent quiescence has been caused her influence, or the naked evidence of his failed policies, or both. I don't know enough to judge her, and couldn't do so fairly in any case. She is human, and is acting in response to her needs.
I just know that I feel deeply saddened and confused by her situation, and I am very grateful I don't have to deal with the conflict between love and loyalty, and integrity and compassion that she faces.