Speak Out

This has been a tough year for America. Over the last ten months, we’ve been forced to contend with a merciless wave of mass shootings, natural disasters, riots and political ineptitude. Public institutions are being dismantled, rights are being stripped from ordinary citizens and hatred is being catapulted into the mainstream.

This country is crying out for strong, level-headed leadership. We need somebody – literally anybody with half a brain – to help us find and restore our collective moral compass. We need somebody to take the helm and lead by example. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with an orange social media troll and a gaggle of spineless yes-men.

That’s what made it so unbelievably comforting when not one – but two – former American presidents dusted off their boots and made big returns to frontline politics this week.

Armed with fire in his belly and buckets of charisma, Barrack Obama found himself a podium and didn’t bother mincing words about Donald Trump and his shameless politics of division and animosity. Obama unloaded on politicians “who are deliberately trying to make folks angry” for “short-term tactical advantage”, and called on voters to turn their backs on the increasingly chauvinistic and pig-headed voices corroding our democracy.

George Bush launches thinly veiled attack on Trump: "Bigotry seems emboldened" in USA today

But it’s nothing we haven’t heard before, to be honest – and it’s something Democrats have been reciting over and over again like a crazed mantra since 20 January.

That’s why it meant so much more when neoconservative wunderkind and reputed warmonger George W Bush stepped up to the plate with his own no-nonsense assault on nativism, bigotry, political conspiracy theories and outright bullying.

In a thinly-veiled attack on Trump, Bush argued Thursday that prejudice was earning itself a shiny new place in public life – normalising racism and compromising “the moral education of children”. He then broke ranks with his fellow Republicans by explicitly condemning white supremacy, before begging Americans to live up to their so-called civic values.

Stack that against the money-grubbing GOP caricature kicking his feet up in the Oval Office right now, and the Bush years are starting to look pretty appetising, huh? After all, if the Bush family thinks somebody is a right-wing opportunist totally incapable of human empathy – well, you get the idea.

But let’s not get too nostalgic, here. After all, by hopping on-board the anti-Trump express, it almost looks like Dubya is trying to whitewash history. He wants us to forget it was his administration that laid the groundwork for Donald Trump and his narrow-minded agenda.

In fact, Bush totally paved the way.

Donald Trump's least presidential moments so far...

Donald Trump's least presidential moments so far...

  • 1/17 Defending Russian President Vladimir Putin

    Donald Trump appeared to equate US foreign actions to those of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

    REUTERS/Carlos Barria

  • 2/17 Asked for people to 'pray' for Arnold Schwarzenegger

    At the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump couldn’t help but to ask for prayers for the ratings on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s show to be good. Schwarzenegger took over as host of “The Apprentice” — which buoyed Mr Trump’s celebrity status years ago.

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 3/17 Hanging up on Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull

    Early in his presidency, Donald Trump reportedly hung up the phone on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after the foreign leader angered him over refugee plans. Mr Trump later said that it was the “worst call” he had had so far.

    BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

  • 4/17 The 'muslim ban'

    Perhaps one of his most controversial policies while acting as president, Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting predominantly Muslim countries has bought him a lot of criticism. The bans were immediately protested, and judges initially blocked their implementation. The Supreme Court later sided with the administration’s argument that the ban was developed out of concern for US security.

    Bryan R Smith/Getty

  • 5/17 Praising crowd size while touring Hurricane Harvey damage

    After Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeastern Texas, Donald Trump paid the area a visit. While his response to the disaster in Houston was generally applauded, the President picked up some flack when he gave a speech outside Houston (he reportedly did not visit disaster zones), and praised the size of the crowds there.

    AP

  • 6/17 Called North Korean leader Kim Jong-un 'Little Rocket Man'

    During his first-ever speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Donald Trump tried out a new nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong-un: Rocket Man. He later tweaked it to be “little Rocket Man” as the two feuded, and threatened each other with nuclear war. During that speech, he also threatened to totally annihilate North Korea.

  • 7/17 Attacking Sadiq Khan following London Bridge terror attack

    After the attack on the London Bridge, Donald Trump lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, criticizing Mr Khan for saying there was “no reason to be alarmed” after the attack. Mr Trump was taking the comments out of context, as Mr Khan was simply saying that the police had everything under control.

    Getty Images

  • 8/17 Claimed presenter Mika Brezinkski was 'bleeding from the face'

    Never one not to mock his enemies, Donald Trump mocked MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, saying that she and co-host Joe Scarborough had approached him before his inauguration asking to “join” him. He noted that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at the time, and that he said no.

  • 9/17 Claiming the blame for Charlottesville was on 'both sides'

    Trump refused to condemn far-right extremists involved in violence at 'the march for the right' protests in Charlottesville, even after the murder of counter protester Heather Heyer

    AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

  • 10/17 Retweeted cartoon of CNN being hit by a 'Trump train'

    Donald Trump retweeted a cartoon showing a Trump-branded train running over a person whose body and head were replaced by a CNN avatar. He later deleted the retweet.

  • 11/17 Tweeting about 'slamming' CNN

    Donald Trump caught some flack when he tweeted a video showing him wrestling down an individual whose head had been replaced by a CNN avatar. Mr Trump has singled CNN out in particular with his chants of “fake news”.

  • 12/17 Firing head of the FBI, James Comey

    Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey landed him with a federal investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election that has caused many a headache for the White House. The White House initially said that the decision was made after consultation from the Justice Department. Then Mr Trump himself said that he had decided to fire him in part because he wanted the Russia investigation Mr Comey was conducting to stop.

    Getty Images

  • 13/17 Not realizing being president would be 'hard'

    Just three months into his presidency, Donald Trump admitted that being president is harder than he thought it would be. Though Mr Trump insisted on the 2016 campaign trail that doing the job would be easy for him, he admitted in an interview that living in the White House is harder than running a business empire.

    REUTERS

  • 14/17 Accusing Obama of wiretapping him

    Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wire tapping him on twitter. The Justice Department later clarified: Mr Obama had not, in fact, done so.

    Reuters

  • 15/17 Claiming there had been 3 million 'illegal votes'

    Donald Trump was never very happy about losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.8 million ballots. So, he and White House voter-fraud commissioner Kris Kobach have claimed that anywhere between three and five million people voted illegally during the 2016 election. Conveniently, he says that all of those illegal votes went to Ms Clinton. (There is no evidence to support that level of widespread voter fraud.)

  • 16/17 Leaving Jews out of the Holocaust memorial statement

    Just days after taking office, Donald Trump’s White House issued a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, but didn’t mention “jews” or even the word “jewish” in the written statement.

    Getty Images

  • 17/17 Anger over Inauguration crowd size

    Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd was visibly, and noticeably, smaller than that of his predecessor, Barack Obama. But, he really wanted to have had the largest crowd on record. So, he praised it as the biggest crowd ever. Relatedly, Mr Trump also claimed that it stopped raining in Washington at the moment he was inaugurated. It didn’t. The day was very dreary.

    Reuters

Trump’s seedy attempts to ban Muslims from setting foot on American soil would never have gained traction without the Bush administration’s ham-fisted wars in the Middle East. Sure, there were a few bad apples kicking about Iraq and Afghanistan – but al Qaeda was nothing but an ostracised loony bin that’d been expelled from the global Muslim community before America stormed in and tore apart the region.

In return, we got the so-called Islamic State, a bloody but short-lived caliphate and a fresh blast of Islamophobia across America’s heartland that Donald Trump was able to package up and carry under his arm all the way to the White House.

Then there’s Trump and his pledge to build a “beautiful” border wall to keep all of those pesky Mexican “rapists” out. Bush was all for building barriers, too. Although the Texan was relatively decent when it came to immigration reform, but he was only too keen to greenlight the construction of the 700-mile border fence that inspired Trump’s ambitions.

And what about The Donald’s irrational war on globalism? Most of this nativist, “America first” bologna dates back to the global financial crash that was basically made possible by the Bush administration’s unabashed support of Wall Street cowboys and the president’s obsession with mortgage deregulation.

But hey, we could play this game all day – because the list goes on and on. George W Bush may not walk and talk like Donald Trump, but they’re certainly cut from the same, rich-white-guy cloth. A lot of the societal problems we're currently facing started under Bush's watch. 

Still, that doesn’t mean we should just ignore the guy, either. The former president’s voice remains a strong addition to an increasingly loud chorus of political dissent that’s bubbling, brewing and inspiring people all across America. If he wants to hop onto the right side of history, speak out against bigotry and remind us what leadership looks like, then let him. With the state our country is in, we need all the help we can get.

Who knows? We might even be able to forgive him for this horrible mess he helped landed us in – but we sure as hell better not forget.

Source : http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/donald-trump-george-w-bush-barack-obama-paved-the-way-a8011811.html

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