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What Happened to the Humility President?
June 26, 2002
By Joseph Arrieta

The US media has pulled one of its baffling disappearing acts with a story again: Enron. Last December the story suddenly burst of its sleepy business columns to be become what seemed at the time to be a full-blown scandal, only to be completely dropped six weeks later.

Example of a neurotic inability to stay focused put aside, the phenomenon also offers some fascinating snapshots as to what was on the public agenda in the past - or at least what the US media thought the agenda should have been. Or what they thought it was. Trying to fit US media behavior into models that display rational behavior is a futile business.

At any rate, it may seem hard to believe, but at one time George Bush was actually the Humility President. It's true. For a full week after the inauguration Bush and Cheney gave pious quotes to the press about how their souls were infused with humility: "If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us," Bush said of the international community. "If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us. We've got to be humble and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom."

The media completely dropped the subject in a week, but President Bush continues to infuse his speeches with the concept - the Olympics, fundraisers, the Naval Academy. Just what is humility? Why is the President so allegedly focused on it? Can observed Presidential behavior be linked to Bush's internal resolution of humility?

The answers to those questions are illusive but the search provides illuminating knowledge. That search also exposes incredibly damning evidence to President Bush's spiritual and mental capacity.

Humility at Dictionary.com offers the usual definitions (probably shared by a majority of Americans): "meekness," "modesty," and "low rank." But farther down the page lies a biblical quote that offers key understanding on why humility is (allegedly) so important to President Bush:

"God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. --Jas. iv. 6."

Humility is prized by Christians for its ability to have an individual clearly heed the will of God. Prideful individuals would be blind to what God meant for them and thus would lose their way. Humility should also promote Christian behavior among individuals. It's not the degrading definition that most people probably have.

The only definition I found that's actually useful to implementing humility came from my old parish priest, Father David: "Humility is the knowledge of who you are and what you're capable of."

Those are huge mountains of personal knowledge to climb, but for the purpose here and how it relates to President Bush the definition works extremely well. Why? Because all know who President Bush is - at least in his qualifications to be President. The loser.

Bush ran and lost the third-closest Presidential race in US history, losing by 540,000 votes. Pure luck in the butterfly ballot, disenfranchisement of minority votes, and theft of the process by the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to Bush. But no one thinks he actually won it - no matter the rationalizations for Florida, the popular vote says it all.

But if you're George Bush, what to do? Somehow the loser got the job - but is it right? If I look at who I truly am, won't the answer always be "loser?" I was judged by the American people as less-capable than my opponent - does that make me capable?

Bush lied to himself and moved on. If he had been honest he never would have taken the job - no man can ever honestly swear to serve the People knowing at the same time the People voted for someone else. It's impossible. The only way to pull the trick when raising the hand is to lie internally.

The US journalism corps (a living embodiment of the word shallow) instantly forgot the humble mouthings of the President, but I didn't. Besides the mind-blowing phenomena of looking at an American President who wasn't democratically elected, I was also looking at a fake Christian who had no concept of true humility - and who was also a terrible liar.

A Bush pattern of lying has begun to emerge in the 18 months since his inauguration with an interesting caveat: bafflement. Bush has told three mighty whoppers, leaving the journalism corps basically scratching their heads and saying: what?

The fist lie was the laughably grand illusion of implementing another Marshall Plan for Afghanistan. The second was Bush's painfully embarrassing fantasies while signing the farm bill . The third is the incredible budget "deficit trifecta" lying - Bush has been caught and his chief of staff grilled on television over it, yet he still spins the fantasy.

Why on Earth would a President lie repeatedly with no provocation, lie with such childish trust that the whoppers would just be swallowed whole?

Because he can. He lied to himself in simply taking the job - people cheered, Air Force One rolled out the carpet, and he got to live in the White House. The biggest lie of all worked the first time - why not just do it again and again? That's precisely what's happened. Bush just lies because he feels like it while the press scratches its head. The poll numbers stay high - who says lying doesn't work?

At least the US Journalism corps has been vigilant in chronicling Bush's arrogance. Junking treaties, disregarding domestic and international law, blatantly disregarding the national interest in favor of energy profits - the list is long. The greatest danger in Bush's utter lack of humility is not in the resulting arrogance, fraught with peril though that may be. The real horror is the dishonesty.

Much hullabaloo resulted in Bush's ridiculous "Axis of Evil" speech. The US Journalism corps, true to their shallow core, blathered endlessly about it without asking a central question: what exactly is evil, anyway? Why is a person evil?

I am not a theologian or psychiatrist. The only work I have studied on the subject comes from Dr. Scott Peck, famous author of The Road Less Traveled. Dr. Peck defines evil humans as People of the Lie. No matter what one analyzes in individual or group evil, one bedrock element is always found which is the foundation for all human evil: lying.

Liars rob their souls of the ability to see reality. They inflict great harm, lie to themselves and others to hide the harm, and stop any potential healing to the issue they're lying about. Liars are forever shut off from the will of God, of course. Liars erode trust, so essential to Democracy. Liars vastly degrade the perception that others hold for them. The evildoers are the liars.

Think about that the next time Bush says that the 9/11 investigations need to be kept secret (to hide a lie). The next time he sneers at a report that came out of the "bureaucracy" (he lied; he never read it). The next time he slaps on trade barriers (lying to the principle of free trade). The next time he extols the virtue of America, yet does nothing to improve the faulty voting systems that got him his job in the first place.

Remember, too, the grave lesson the Europeans took from evil last century. They were appalled at the simplicity of Bush's Axis of Evil speech. They came to understand that not only does evil reside in every person (not just a country), but that its potential to do great harm is only possible with the silent, servile acceptance of the populace to evil's obvious existence.


Democratic Underground, April 2002

The New Republic, June 2002

The Road Less Traveled

People of the Lie

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