OurView: Death should not purify, excuse terrible actions of powerful men


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Bush died Nov. 30, the day before World AIDS Day.

Sierra Rozen and Lauren Sanchez

Every week, the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the views of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week’s editorial board is composed of Viewpoint Editors Sierra Rozen and Lauren Sanchez.

George H.W. Bush died after years of battling Parkinson’s disease. Though that news is sad for his war criminal son and his adorable service dog, we can’t begin to glamorize his life and shrug off the horrible things this man did during his presidency.

It is one thing to give respect towards the family when they are in their time of mourning, but it is a completely other thing to forget about the pain that Bush caused millions of people.

First on the list of discrepancies is the fact that Bush ran his campaign on racist stereotypes.

His Democratic opponent and former governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, happened to be in office when inmate, Willie Horton, didn’t return to prison after his weekend furlough in 1986. A furlough weekend was basically a weekend where inmates could take a short leave of absence from prison life without supervision.

Horton was later found in Maryland where he had stabbed a man, raped his fiance, then escaped in their car. Bush used the incident in his favor to discredit Dukakis, framing him as “weak.” In the ads using the situation against Dukakis, Bush’s campaign managers were sure to mention that Horton was black, and the woman he raped was white.

This contributes to a long history of rhetoric surrounding the Black community, framing them as rapists and criminals who prey on vulnerable white people.

Secondly, he is an actual war criminal.

The first Gulf War was brought on by false claims Bush spoon-fed to the American people. To sell the idea of bombing Iraq, he announced that Iraq invaded Kuwait “without provocation or warning.” However, the U.S. Ambassador of Iraq, April Glaspie, had in fact told Saddam Hussein “We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” That communicated passiveness of the U.S.’s was one of the major causes of the invasion.

He then dropped 88,500 tons of bombs on innocent Iraqi citizens. In fact 70% of those bombs missed their targets. One of these bomb raids hit a bomb shelter in the Amiriya neighborhood of Baghdad on Feb. 13, 1991, killing 408 innocent civilians.

Lastly, one of the most infamous things that Bush is known for is how he turned a blind eye to the AIDS crisis in the 1990s, something that should obviously not be forgotten.

The irony is that Bush’s death came right before World AIDS day, so his death has overshadowed the thousands of lives unnecessarily lost to the AIDS epidemic. In 1992, activists took to the White House lawn to throw the cremated ashes of loved ones who had died from AIDS. Why would we halt these kinds of protests just because he died?

Let this be a lesson that while you can morn people like Bush, you shouldn’t whitewash all the wrong he did in his life. There are people who have died who we, as a society, shouldn’t celebrate because of their actions. Don’t push back your personal beliefs because of a sad service dog.