Sunday, November 14, 2004

Bush the Empathic

"I am angry that so many sons of the powerful and well-placed...managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units...Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal."
(Colin L. Powell in "My American Journey", 1995)

"During his first year [at Harvard Business School] George came to the attention of Yoshi Tsurumi when the macroeconomics professor announced his plan to show the film 'The Grapes of Wrath' based on John Steinbeck's book about the Great Depression. ' I wanted to give the class a visual reference for poverty and a sense of historical empathy,' Tsurumi explained. 'George Bush came up to me and said, Why are you going to show us that Commie movie?'

'I laughed because I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. After we viewed the film, I called on him to discuss the Depression and how he thought it affected people. He said, 'Look. People are poor because they are lazy.' A number of students pounced on him and demanded that he support his statement with facts and statistics. He quickly backed down because he could not sustain his broadside.'

Professor Tsurumi continued: ' His strong prejudices soon set him apart from the rest of the students. This has nothing to do with politics, because most business students are conservative, but they are not inhumane or unprincipled. Unlike most of the others in the class, George Bush came across as totally lacking compassion, with no sense of history, completely devoid of social responsibility, and unconcerned with the welfare of others. Even among Republicans his kind was rare. He had no shame about his views, and that's when the rest of the class started treating him like a clown--not someone funny, but someone whose views were not worthy of consideration...I did not judge him to be stupid, just spoiled and undisciplined...I gave him a 'low pass'. Of the hundred students in that class, George Bush was in the bottom 10 percent. He was so abysmal that I once asked him how he ever got accepted in the first place. He said, 'I had lots of help.' I laughed, and then inquired about his military service. He said he had been in the Texas Air National Guard. I said he was very lucky not to have had to go to Vietnam. He said, 'My dad fixed it so that I got into the Guard. I got an early discharge to come here.' "

(quoted from "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty" by Kitty Kelly, Doubleday, N.Y. 2004, pp. 309-310)