Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Whitewashing Dilemma

I never understand why people want to whitewash history. That was what I first thought when I heard about George W. Bush’s publicity tour to promote his new memoir. Since leaving office, he has lived quietly away from the spotlight until now. I remember how different things were before and now after his presidency, and I can honestly say that things were pretty grim during those long eight years.

At the same time, it is far too easy to cast all the blame on Bush entirely. He was the figure head of a large, crumbling administration, as well as the country as a whole. He had other branches of the government to contend with too, which is understandable. Still, people in the media want to either revere him as a powerful former President who helped spread democracy in the Muslim world, or demonize him for entering into war with Iraq. It is too easy to choose one side or the other, but it is wrong to do so.

When you see the world in purely “black and white,” you lose out on many truths. Still, I don’t believe that someone like Hitler should be sympathized with in this or any other way. I feel fortunate that I surround myself with people who are and have made time to present themselves for who they really are, warts and all.

I also don’t like it when people claim to be close with a deceased person, when they were not. Respect for someone who is passed is essential of course, but I feel uncomfortable seeing people mourning for those deceased persons they barely knew or spoke to. Whitewashing the memories of others can be detrimental to everyone concerned; trashing someone through and through is also a bothersome extreme. Therefore, taking the middle ground is always best, at least from my own view.

Do you agree that whitewashing anything or anyone (dead or alive) is a bad idea? Why or why not?

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