Political sin eater

Friday, September 23, 2005
I remember years ago hearing a folk tale about a sin eater. This poor unfortunate soul was doomed to consume the sins of others so that they might achieve salvation.

After watching the farsical and hysterical hurricane coverage and witnessing the inevitable finger pointing that followed I have come to think of Bush as a political sin eater.

It is his job to assume responsibility not only for the ineptitude of corrupt Louisiana politicians, but the weather itself it seems.

I was raised by people who survived the Dust Bowl. My mother's family lost their farm and went to California to live in the camps and pick fruit. There was no disaster relief or even unemployment insurance and so far as I know FDR was not blamed for the fact that their farm blew away along with the homesteads of tens of thousands of other poor Okies.

People did the best they could.

Of course there were no breathless media spokespeople standing in the midst of that blasted countryside asking indignantly who will pay for this, why are these people suffering?

No... the Okies just loaded up the jalopy and headed west.

But today we need to blame. Perhaps it is partisan politics out of control, or maybe it gives us some comfort to believe that we can avoid bad things if only our president would get it together.

Maybe we are the ones who need to take some responsibility for ourselves and accept the fact that bad things just happen. And maybe the media adds to the fear and the confusion in a sort of modern day witch hunt.

It is Bush's fault. Get rid of him and the bad things go away, gas is cheap, the war is over, the sun shines and all is well.

If you believe that, I have got some swamp ground in east Texas to sell you.


Rick Ballard said...

In January of '09 when W watches Jeb (or someone much like Jeb) being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, the Republicans will have held the Presidency for 28 of the last 40 years and a Bush will have either been President or within a heartbeat of being President for 20 of those years. Nixon was a "Bad Man", Reagan was a "Very Bad Man", Bush I was a "Clueless Simpleton", Bush II is a "Fiendishly Clever Foolish Simpleton Who Is Also a Very, Very, Very Bad Man". The SoSM does assign all the sins of the world to be eaten by Republican Presidents but it is very much a forced feeding program rather than a voluntary effort on the part of the President du jour.

The SoSM keeps chanting the same mantra and the Republicans keep winning. Perhaps "we" do take responsibility for our own lives and the fact that "we" do so is best expressed by the fact that "we" control the government while "they" control an ever shrinking SoSM and the ever shrinking party for which it serves as mouthpiece.

Whether "we" are Indiana Okies or California Dreamers, "we" are in control and we better make damn sure we deserve to stay there.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

I've been thinking along similar lines. It's clear that people are looking at the President as a religious icon of some sort; not as an administrator of a very large bureaucracy.

I used to wonder why they deified Roman emperors. I couldn't understand it--why would you make someone who was obviously a human being into a god? That just seems so insane. Now I understand.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand what's going on, but I liked your post very much.

A political sin-eater... yes.

truepeers said...

Great post Terrye. You look at Bush and wonder to what extent he is conscious of his sin-eating role. As a Christian he no doubt has some inkling, but can he allow himself to see let alone explain the nature, scope and scale of BDS?

And given the madness he must mediate, a task whose weight should not be underestimated, I wonder if the Presidential system can last long into the future, or whether some institutions of administrative authority will have to be developed that are less focussed on a single individual.

terrye said...

As I reread my post I see that I created a whole new word for ground...it's Bush's fault.

I think we are going to have to learn that presidents do not have magic wands or we will nag these people to the point they will not be able to do their jobs at all.

The fiasco in LA is only one example. There is talk of rearranging the Constitution so that presidents can do the job of mayors when the mayors are morons like Nagin.

That means there will be more potential for blame.

There are 200,000 drowned out cars in New Orleans right now. That would have been about 4 cars per person left behind. They weren't all junk before the levee broke.

Which means that even if your mayor is a moron people need to learn to take care of themselves.

I know this does not apply to old folks in nursing homes or little kids.

But..... at the risk of sounding crass there were some pretty fiesty looters out there that could have been heading for high ground if they had really wanted to get out town.

However, the media got the vapors and made a bad stituation worse than it had to be. They treated the people of New Orleans like children and now they have spoon fed us enogh hurrican hype to force a good deal of Houston onto the roads.

Imagine spending 18 hours in a car with a bunch of screaming kids and a dog in 90 depgree weather just to find out it was a waste of time.

Thank you Giraldo.

Knucklehead said...


What a fascinating notion... POTUS as "sin-eater". I suppose this is a perspectiveless overloading of Truman's "The Buck Stops Here" claim.

Someone, in some comment on some blog somewhere, perhaps even here, said something along the lines of people growing weary of "bad" things happening and projecting an unusual run of "bad" things onto the POTUS.

A lot of people don't want to go through the trouble of trying to gain even a rudimentary understanding of how things fit together or where a given buck should actually stop. They want the ease of skipping the difficult process of trying to gain even a simplistic understanding and, instead, just raise their eyes to the "top", numero uno, and fling a buck, any ol' buck will do, on that desk.