By letterhead | April 11, 2008
A couple of days ago President Bush “blinked back tears” at the funeral of a Marine who threw himself on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers.
It’s tough to believe anything that comes out of the White House, given its seven-year history of… dissembling… a history in which Herr Karlmiester recreated reality to suit Bush’s political ambitions.
“When we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors.. and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’ ”
Karl Rove (10/04)
Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Gets In
So when Bush cries, what “reality” is he aiming to create? Sympathy? Empathy? The pain of resolve? No doubt something as heroic as the man whom he mourns.
But what Rove failed to understand is that truly original narrative is almost impossible to write, and that people have been “studying what [they] do” for millennia.
Machiavelli nailed Bush to a “T” more than 500 years ago — pegging exactly what “reality” is being created, independent of the president’s intent:
“A prince must take great care that nothing goes out of his mouth which is not full of the [below]-named five qualities, and, to see and hear him, he should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity, and religion.
“And nothing is more necessary than to seem to have this last quality, for men in general judge more by the eyes than by the hands, for everyone can see, but very few have to feel.
“Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are, and those few will not dare to oppose themselves to the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in actions of men, and especially of princes, from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means.
“Let a prince therefore aim at conquering and maintaining the state, and the means will always be judged honourable and be praised by everyone, for the vulgar is always taken by appearances and the issue of the event; and the world consists only of the vulgar, and the few who are not vulgar are isolated when the many have a rallying point in the prince.
“A certain prince of the present time, whom it is not well to name, never does anything but preach peace and good faith, but he is really a great enemy to both, and either of them, had he observed them, would have lost him state or reputation on many occasions.”
from “The Prince”
That rib-tickling comedian Marx brother… Karl, that is… said that when history repeats itself, it is first as tragedy, second as farce.
In the ensuing 150 or so years, lots of folks have wondered: What about the third time? And the fourth? And the umpteenth? How many times has this scene played out since Niccolo sketched it in 1505?
What history repeating itself creates is… a rut.
Bush, no doubt, will call it a “legacy.”