Friday, May 16, 2008

Airing the Dirty Laundry

G. W. Bush, a man I refuse to acknowledge as a duly elected head of state of this country, spoke before the Israeli Parliament yesterday in honor of the 60th Anniversary of the founding of that democracy.

Frankly I would not have invited him but they did. And he did not disappoint. He inserted both feet into his mouth and winked at the audience and gloated when they stood up to applaud him in response to what must have been a sign off camera to do so.

That is the trouble with this video age any of us gets to view and review all the little minutes that are recorded in daily life. I applaud the camera man that panned the audience. And of course all of those that watched that video get to blog about it this morning. We have come a long way from the pioneer days in Cimarron, New Mexico where the picture above was taken. And we have obviously come a long way from good manners as G.W. proved yesterday.

It has been a standing rule, all be it unwritten, that an American President is never criticized by the press while on foreign soil. And by the same token no American President every airs the dirty laundry of the United States while on foreign soil. Now mind you in this day of instant mass communication this may be a small point but I do think it is one of good diplomatic manners as it were: protocol if you will. Mother always expected from me and my siblings the best of manners when we were eating out and especially at the home of another. Elbows on the table which I could get by with at Wednesday breakfast were a strict no no at the neighbors. My mother and father taught me well.

So I if I were to say anything bad about the first President Bush and his wife it is that they clearly neglected the teaching of manners in their house. G.W. got up before the Israeli Parliament and maligned the intelligence of a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. He compared Obama to the misguided government officials of the past that tried to talk to Adolf Hitler before the opening of hostilities. Bad Georgie. Bad boy.

And then the Democratic leaders of course responded. Two wrongs do not make a right. My mother would have just flashed me that look which led me to know that I was in deep trouble immediately upon our return home. "He started it," I learned as a child was not a viable defense.

But Georgie you also missed the major point here. It is never wrong to try to talk before slinging bombs. It is wrong rather to not talk before slinging bombs. And I think it totally inappropriate to stand on foreign soil and use the podium provided for celebration as a vehicle for a political speech or to denounce the countries in the neighborhood. I was so embarrassed.