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Opinion: George Bush’s moment of blinding clarity




So it was news when Bush, in an interview with the Texas Tribune as part of the Austin-based South by Southwest festival, was pronounced in personal terms on the January 6 insurrection in Washington. “I was sick to the stomach,” he said, “seeing the Capitol of our nation being assaulted by hostile forces.”
It is good for him to use clear, simple and unambiguous language. Those who attacked our Capitol were indeed “hostile forces.” They can also be traitors. For Americans, waging war against the United States is a betrayal, the only crime specifically defined in the Constitution. Or maybe yes terrorists.
On another level, however, it is discouraging to realize that Bush’s comments were so remarkable. At any other time, we would be surprised to learn that a former president did not like to see the Capitol of his nation. attacked, his police officers beaten and brutalized, its corridors contaminated with feces, its Senate chamber incomplete and busy and the vice president hurried to protect himself from a shouting crowd “Penja Mike Pence!”
These are not normal times and the Republican Party is not a normal political party. Republican Trumpists are already trying to understand their followers, saying that what they saw on January 6 was not what really happened. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin described the national terrorists whose riots caused five deaths and dozens of injuries this way: “I knew they were people who love this country, who really respect law enforcement, who would never do anything to break the law.”
This is how totally Trump’s dishonesty has come to dominate the Republican Party. Those who attack our Capitol with pipe pumps, Molotov cocktails, a spear, tasers i bear spray they are described as “people who love this country.” One Capitol Police officer and 140 officers were killed wounded, by people “who truly abide by law enforcement.” There were more than 300 people loaded with federal offenses, but “they would never do anything to break the law.”
When the House voted Thursday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to U.S. Capitol police, 12 Republicans voted no. His excuses were shocking in denying reality. Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas offered a alternative resolution who never mentioned the insurrection and referred to the three police officers who lost their lives (one as a direct result of the attack, two for suicide then) as simply having “approved the whole of January 2021”. Some of the disappointing dozens said they opposed the word “insurrectionists” to describe those who used violence to attack the U.S. Capitol and thwart our government’s procedures, which is precisely the definition of the word.
It has become commonplace to label bald-faced lies as “Orwellian” after the author of 1984, where Big Brother gave us Newspeak in which “War is peace” and “Ignorance is strength.” But maybe we need to update that tag. In the 21st century, lying so obviously, so blatantly, unquestionably is simply Trumpian.
It is strange, perhaps, that President Bush, a politician who so often found himself pinned to the carpet by the English language, is now emerging as a beacon of clarity. The man who once asked, “Are our children learning?” he has given the world the two brief phrases that perfectly integrate the Trump era, from its strange beginning to its embarrassing conclusion. In the moments after Trump, he ended his dark and flourishing inaugural speech, Bush as supposed He captured the moment in five words: “It was a strange thing.”
Four long years later, Bush summed up the reaction to the attack on our Capitol – or at least the reaction of all decent, patriotic Americans – to just six words, as evocative as they were accurate: “I was sick to the stomach.”