So, former First Lady Laura Bush was asked by USA Today’s Susan Page about Donald Trump. Let’s put aside for the moment that, frankly, questions about Trump were not particularly relevant, considering why Laura Bush was there for the interview (which is supposed to be about Voices of Hope, Mrs. Bush’s new book on Afghan women): that’s just par for the course. But Mrs. Bush (I think properly) declined to give Trump a soundbite to freak out over, but it’s fairly clear from her response afterward where she stands. And it’s not with Trump:
Q: But in your book it’s clear that you don’t think Islam hates America, or that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United States. Is there a point where you would feel compelled to come off the sidelines to speak out?
A: This is what I want Americans to remember — what our real values are. And one of the very first things, one of the reasons we’re a country is because we believe in freedom of religion. We believe that people could be religious. They could choose any religion they wanted to, or they could not worship, if they didn’t want to. We don’t have any religious test in the United States. And that’s what we need to remember. We need to remember what our own values are.
We have a tendency in the United States, and it’s happened other times in our history, to become sort of isolationist and xenophobic and, you know, we’re just going to stay here together and not pay attention to the rest of the world. And it’s something that we have to pay attention to now because our world is so small. And it’s important for us — even though we’ve gone through these stages many other times in our history — to pay attention to the rest of the world.
Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that, if and when this response gets noticed by the mainstream press, there’s going to a whole lot of online vituperation going on over the sight of a woman with the Bush surname calling xenophobia, well, xenophobia. This is as predictable as the sunrise, in fact. And when that happens I would like my readers to take a good, hard look at the people who are doing the vituperating*. These are not happy people. These are not people who are comfortable in their own skin. These are people whose faces have set into a set pattern of aggravation, peevishness, and a general, constant, low-grade state of resentment. In short, they’re kind of broken. And you have to wonder just how much of that is bleeding into the part of their lives that doesn’t involve politics. Because, as we saw from the decade-long crackup that was the antiwar movement, you can’t just turn this stuff off like it was coming from a spigot.
But, hey: people are going to do what they’re going to do. Maybe this time they’ll figure out how to channel the Dark Side in a way that won’t corrupt them in the end. It’s never happened once in all of recorded history, but dice have no memory, right?
*Huh. Guess it’s a word. I half-figured that it wouldn’t be.