Monday, April 27, 2009

It's a President Thing

"On the other hand..."
One of my favorite movies is Fiddler on the Roof. Among its many messages is the notion that tradition is simultaneously important yet not immutable. The protagonist, Tevye, is ruled by his instincts and his preconceptions. His dedication to belief and tradition is what makes him the dependable, loving and honorable man that he is. What is truly admirable about him, though, is his ability to adapt in the face of seemingly catastrophic attacks on those thing which he holds most dear. When confronted by a truth that seems to go against everything he believes, he turns to his brilliant refrain, on the other hand, and is able to emerge with a brand new perspective.

I experienced what I'm choosing to call a 'Tevye moment' the other day while reading this article. It seems that former President Bush has, in a huge departure from his neo-con colleagues, chosen to back up the new prez:
"I'm not going to spend my time criticizing him. There are plenty of critics in the arena...He deserves my silence."
President Obama has been getting a lot of heat from Republicans recently for being, well, not a Republican: He's a tax and spend liberal! He's making us less safe by not letting the CIA torture people! His dog wants to take our guns!

I don't blame the opposition party for taking shots at the president. After all, he represents the ideological equivalent of an enema, and I understand the impulse to at least say something even if you can't really do something. That being said, I think some of them need to sit down and shut up. Dick Cheney is at the top of my list. Come on Dick! Even Meghan McCain agrees that you need to "go away."

So you can imagine my surprise when I heard what President Bush had to say. I thought my feelings for his administration would never go away. On the other hand...maybe I had him all wrong. Maybe he's more akin to a victim than anything. There must have been a lot of pressure from a lot of annoying people to do things a certain way while he was in office.

Anyway, I suppose it's only human of me to look for a place to hurl blame. Perhaps my Tevye moment isn't so magical after all. Perhaps I'm just transferring my malcontent to other, more onerous members of the Bush administration.

Either way, I feel a new flush of OK-ness with the 43rd president, and that's not something I totally expected. Moreover, I have a fresh batch of respect for the presidency in general; it's like opening the dryer and feeling the clean heat and smell of detergent waft over you. (yes, it's laundry night, so my analogies are more likely to be washy and dry-y)

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