"And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness." (Leviticus 16:22) Above image found in google image search unattributed.
"To trash Bush was to belong," writes Debra J. Saunders, putting her finger on the primal tribal imperative that underlies the relentless scapegoating of our 43rd president by his political adversaries gadding the corridors of power these last eight years, together with their allies in the media, here and abroad. First a few excerpts from Saunders's column, and then on to Glenn C. Lowry's extremely thought-provoking, not unrelated "The Call of the Tribe: The role of identity in our politics and our lives" [via Maggie's Farm]. First Saunders on the etiology of BDS:
Note now that the buff Obama is taking office, stories gushing about Obama's daily workouts flood the channels. Oh, yes, and the same people who belittled Bush for sending troops to war even though he only served in the National Guard somehow do not seem to notice Obama's utter lack of military experience …
There was little upside in supporting Bush, even if you had supported his agenda [Yes YOU, Northeast Corridor Conservatives].
"We all hear the call of some tribe or another," writes Glenn C. Lowry in the article referenced above, expanding upon the same theme — our own perennial obsession, "the importance of being noticed" — from another angle:
[T]here are times when the call of the tribe just might be a siren’s call and when an excessive focus on “identity” could lead one badly astray. What is more, I firmly believe that now is just such a time.
At the close of what by all accounts has been a most extraordinary national political campaign — one in which questions of identity have played a huge role — I believe it is important to at least raise (if not answer!), in a gentle and nonpartisan way, the question of what role “identity” ought to play in our politics and in our lives.
Do read the whole thing. Here's a taste of the existential moment of choice the author is grappling with:
Evidently, Woody’s family had also been passing for white in pre-integration Park Manor. The neighborhood’s changing racial composition had forced them to choose between staying and raising their children among “their own kind.” This was a fateful decision for Woody who, as he matured, became determined not simply to live among blacks but, perhaps in atonement for his parents’ sins, unambiguously to become one. The boys in the neighborhood did not make this easy. Many delighted in teasing him about being a “white boy,” and most simply refused to credit his insistent, often-repeated claim: “I’m a brother, too!”
"Growing into intellectual maturity has been, for me, largely a process of becoming free of the need to have my choices validated by the brothers," concludes Lowry:
After many years I have come to understand that, until I became willing to risk the derision of the crowd, I had no chance to discover the most important truths about myself or about life — to know my calling, to perceive my deepest value commitments, and to recognize the goals most worth striving toward.
Would that members of the reflexively Bush-bashing community would have such insight about "the goals most worth striving toward."
Update III: Awesomeness squared: The professor links!
Update IV: Maggie's joins the party.
Update V: More shock and awe from Protein Wisdom!
Update VI: "Now they notice," headlines Kate of Small Dead Animals.
Update VII: Harassment and interdiction fires from Argghhh!
Update VIII: Fausta links.
Update IX: "Got Bush-hate? You’re so cool!" blogs The Anchoress.
Update X: "I’ve often wondered if I were the only one who could see the spiritual side of the fight that President Bush has had to endure in his sacrificial presidency to protect and defend our nation but no, there are some who do," writes Laura Lee, linking Paul Kengor's "Bush at the Stone Table: The Sacrificial Presidency of George W. Bush," at The American Thinker, comparing GWs sacrifice to that of Aslan/Christ.