Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bush's Luck

Whatever else he is, George W. Bush has not been a lucky president. Here he is, after eight disastrous years in office, in the TV spotlight to make his case for history in a sentimental setting, and millions of viewers can't wait to see the last of him and get back to watching a miracle in Manhattan--a crippled airliner with 155 people landing without loss of life on a strip of river between the crowded shores of New York and New Jersey.

As the President was praising himself, Americans were impatient to learn about a man his age named Chesley B. Sullenberger III, who piloted a twin-jet Airbus safely into the water and then walked the aisles twice to make sure everyone was safe before finally leaving his craft.

An attentive mind and heart could not fail to be moved by the contrast between that airline captain and the man in the White House who steered America into a bloodbath in Iraq after 9/11 and who responded feebly to Katrina, telling us how he kept the nation safe

"I have followed my conscience," Bush said, "and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions."

Like ditching a damaged plane, steering a nation in distress is not an activity that allows for being graded on good intentions. George W. Bush has been unlucky in the challenges he faced that were beyond his control, but he met them with arrogance and ineptitude that resulted in needless loss of life time and again.

Americans can only hope there is no need for an emergency response in the next five days.


Mule Breath said...

Since I've been reading your blog I've not always agreed, but this one is bullseye on mark. Evan when I disagree, I enjoy your style. Glad I found you. I've voted in the Weblog awards, and have advocated others to do the same.

Unknown said...

As I walk on the beach today I was thinking about Cptn. Sullenberg who landed that plane in the middle of the Hudson River and saved everybody´s life against all odds. Who is this man? White haired, peaceful and quiet appearance. Former Air Force fighter pilot. Owns security agency in CA and has studied exptensively the psychology of crews. He had just a few minutes after a flock of birds got into both engines moments after take off and paralized them. So there you are. No time to go back and land at the airport, no engines. What do you do? You land smoothly on the Hudson river. Of course, what else? Then you take time to go twice over the cabin while freezing water is all over the plane to make sure everybody got out safely. As tradition has it, captain is the last one to abandon ship.

What made this possible? Many years of training, of course. But not too many would have pulled this out, no matter how much training. It also required total concetration in the moment; in other words mindfulness.

Here is to mindful Captain Sullengerber. I salute you today as my hero.