FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Remembering Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush, mother of war criminal George W. Bush, died on April 17, 2018. Geraldine Comley, my mother, died April 17, 2011. Bush was called the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty. For years, my mother was chairwoman of the local Republican Party in Nicholasville, Kentucky, however she eventually rejected the Party, leaving it when George Bush was elected president. She’d watched the news, his campaign, and pronounced him stupid.

My mother, whom we called Gigi, was the smartest woman I’ve ever known, inquisitive, a voracious reader, engaged in broadening her knowledge. Long before George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, she said that someday the U.S. would be involved in a religious war, a war that would be disastrous and chaotic. When her grandson Chase made a decision to enlist in the Marines, she was devastated. Yes, this was his choice, but she blamed George W. Bush. And when Chase was killed in Iraq, she agreed to be interviewed, criticizing U.S. foreign policy and the Bush White House.

I have this powerful memory of her, her passion and energy. After Chase’s death, she was enervated by grief.

Here’s a juxtaposition: In the run-up to the Iraq War, Barbara Bush was asked about her decision not to watch much TV. She said:

But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s going to happen, and how many this and what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? And watch him [George W.] suffer.

You can bet a limb or both kidneys the xenophobic Mrs. Bush didn’t give a damn about the suffering of the Iraqi people—the suffering of anyone, really, but her own and her family’s.
Back to my mother. She also predicted, worried, that someday the U.S. would initiate a conflict over water. Again, a juxtaposition: After Katrina, when refugees who’d fled their homes and were housed in the Houston Astrodome, Barbara Bush made what must have been an obligatory appearance at the site. She said:

What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.

Yesterday, April 17, I was preoccupied with Gigi images. My younger son H and his wife V had been here on Sunday, working on a project for me. They were exhausted. He wanted to go home and return the next evening to finish the task. She wanted to stay the extra two hours required to complete it. I began a question I knew would make them laugh but got only partially through it before bursting into laughter. Just like my mother. Exactly what Gigi did. This was an exquisite little reverie to have amid thoughts of those days in April of 2011 when the Sisterhood, Laura, Erma, and I, were at her bedside during the days of her dying.

George W. Bush visited his mother in the hospital during her last days. According to this Peter Baker tribute, Mrs. Bush said to her doctor: “You want to know why George W. is the way he is? Because I drank and smoked when I was pregnant with him.” When I read this, I recalled my mother’s statement that George W. Bush was stupid. Yet Barbara Bush’s drinking and smoking don’t support that “way he is”, that way he really is—an imperialist/capitalist former president. More sinister influences than alcohol and tobacco shaped the mass murderer.

As politicians and the corporate media gush over the racist Barbara Bush, let’s note the undertaking that Mrs. Bush began while her husband was vice president–championing literacy. Then think of this George W. Bush-ism: “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” Perhaps Mrs. Bush selected her particular pet “duty” for very personal reasons, guilt from serving her son a prenatal diet of alcohol and cigarettes.

More articles by:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump
Nomi Prins 
Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus
Dean Baker
Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually
Dave Lindorff
Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 7 Pro-Contagion Reversals Increase the Coronavirus Toll
David Swanson
A Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus
Ellen Brown
Was the Fed Just Nationalized?
Jeff Birkenstein
Postcards From Trump
Nick Licata
Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image
Kathy Kelly
“He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”
Graham Peebles
Change Love and the Need for Unity
Kim C. Domenico
Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Files Lawsuit to Stop Logging and Burning Project in Rocky Mountain Front Inventoried Roadless Area
Stephen Cooper
“The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail