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
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
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
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
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
Underground, April 2002
New Republic, June 2002
Road Less Traveled
of the Lie