Jose Saramago on George W. Bush

My disappointments with the current democratic administration continue to outpace my ability to forgive the actions of the previous administration- actions which guarantee that I will never vote again for that political party. Never. The following is from a recently published translation of Jose Saramago’s blog, O Caderno. Agree or disagree with him, Saramago always had a way of making his points in a way that few others dared to make them, or were skilled enough to make them..

 September 18, 2008: “George W. Bush, or the Age of Lies”

(from The Notebook, a collection of Jose Saramago’s blogs, originally published in Portuguese. Verso, 2010, p.7)

I wonder why it is that the United States, a country so great in all things, has so often had such small presidents. George W. Bush is perhaps the smallest of them all. This man, with his mediocre intelligence, abysmal ignorance, confused communications skills, and constant succumbing to the irresistible temptation of pure nonsense, has presented himself to humanity in the grotesque pose of a cowboy who has inherited the world and mistaken it for a herd of cattle. We don’t know what he really thinks, we don’t even know if he does think (in the noblest sense of the word), we don’t know whether he might not just be a badly programmed robot that constantly confuses and switches around the messages it carries inside it. But to give the man some credit for once in his life, there is one program in the robot George Bush, president of the United States, that works to perfection: lying. He knows he’s lying, he knows we know he’s lying, but being a compulsive liar, he will keep on lying even when he has the most naked truth right there before his eyes- he will keep on lying even after the truth has exploded in his face. He lied to justify waging war in Iraq just as he lied about his stormy and questionable past, and with just the same shamelessness. With Bush, the lies come from very deep down; they are in his blood. A liar emeritus, he is the high priest of all the other liars who have surrounded him, applauded him, and served him over the past few years.

George Bush expelled truth from the world, establishing the age of lies that now flourishes in its place. Human society today is contaminated by lies, the worst sort of moral contamination, and he is among those chiefly responsible. The lie circulates everywhere with impunity, and has already turned into a kind of other truth. When a few years ago a Portuguese prime minister- whose name for charity’s sake I will not mention here- stated that “politics is the art of not telling the truth,” he could never have imagined that sometime later George W. Bush would transform this shocking statement into a naïve trick of fringe politics, with no real awareness of the value or significance of words. For Bush, politics is simply one of the levers of business, and perhaps the best one of all- the lie as a weapon, the lie as the advance guard of tanks and cannons, the lie told over the ruins, over the corpses, over humankind’s wretched and perpetually frustrated hopes. We cannot be sure that today’s world is more secure, but we can have no doubt that it would be much cleaner without the imperial and colonial politics of the president of the United States, George Walker Bush, and of the many- quite aware of the fraud they were perpetuating- who allowed him into the White House. History will hold them to account.

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Goodbye, George W. Bush

On Tuesday, Barack Obama will become our 44th president of the United States. At the same time that is happening, George W. Bush will be on his way to his pretend ranch in Crawford or to his new cul-de-sac digs in Preston Hollow, in Dallas. I really don’t care where he is going; I am simply relieved that he will be gone.

Obama will swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. The Preamble to that document is always worth reviewing:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It is also a worthwhile thing to remember that when that Preamble was written, persons of African descent were not included in the phrase “we the people.” But that’s another day’s topic. Today, I want to say goodbye to the 43rd President, and urge the 44th President to uphold and and defend the Constitution in all ways– among them, the investigation and possible prosecution of his immediate predecessors for falsely and knowingly leading us into a war that has cost 5000 American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives.

Scroll down the pages of this blog and you’ll see that I’ve changed my mind on that subject; it was not long ago that I simply hoped Mr. Bush would fade away. But when he spoke, at his final press conference earlier in the week, of one his greatest regrets being the inability of Allied forces to find Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, I was pushed- hard- from the “compassionate” attitude I had taken toward him. 

His greatest regret; the thing which he regrets the most about his presidency…is that his predication for the war was not vindicated. Forget the thousands of new terrorists which have been ideologically birthed over the last six years; forget the suffering of American, English, Canadian, and Iraqui families who have lost so many sons and daughters while  our armies desperately sought phantom evidence that would- for once and for all- prove Bush was right about at least that one thing; forget about “Brownie” and the administration’s “dress for success” shirtsleeve response to Katrina’s meteorological rape of the Gulf Coast; forget the $12 billion per month which has been landing in the bottomless coffers of everyone with a round round of ammo to sell the federal government, or the wiping out of pensions because Wall Street traders came up with formulas the SEC couldn’t make sense of let alone a commander in chief who seemed to parade with pride his inability to speak (which, in his case, is a pretty good indicator of his inability to think); forget all those things. BECAUSE WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT IS THAT THERE WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION TO BE FOUND!

I know that increasingly tiny band of Bush supporters and defenders continues to believe that history will be kind and that, in retrospect…whatever and yada, yada, who cares?

I’m done with Bush, on these digital pages anyway. I’ll join in cleaning up the mess that’s been left, although I’m not sure this mess can be entirely or ever cleaned up. We’re all going to be forced to try, however, if we want anything resembling the United States as it was, to be passed on to the generations to come, who will be paying for this mess.

Hello, Barack H. Obama..</