Why is the Bush family so damn evil? That's probably a question that many an obsessed leftist has asked from time to time. Well, Slate.com apparently thinks it has the answer: an ancestor of the Presidents Bush was a notorious slave trader!
Of course, you can't hold the sins of the father to the son, but this story was just too juicy for writer Simon Akam to not do just that. In his June 20 piece Akam noted that twelve presidents owned slaves. And that another twenty-five have slave trading in their family lineage, but woe to the House of Bush for, "George W. and George H.W. Bush was part of a much more appalling group: Thomas Walker was a notorious slave trader active in the late 18th century along the coast of West Africa."
Slave trading was a vile evil, of course, but how exactly does this skeleton in the family closet have anything to do with how the Bushes of the modern day should be judged by their countrymen and by history?
Akam didn't really explain, although he did close by giving the younger President Bush some credit for denouncing the historical horrors of the slave trade:
On his 2003 visit to Goree Island, a former slave fort off the coast of the Senegalese capital, Dakar, George W. Bush denounced the slave trade as one of "the greatest crimes of history.”
"Small men took on the powers and airs of tyrants and masters," he said. "Some have said we should not judge their failures by the standards of a later time. Yet, in every time, there were men and women who clearly saw this sin and called it by name."
While Bush's distant ancestors may have been involved in exploiting African slaves, his own presidency won praise from many poverty campaigners for its work on the continent. Bush backed debt forgiveness for 21 African states, and his President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) pumped billions of dollars into antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS sufferers, saving millions of lives in Africa.
The only problem is that this is the conclusion of Akam's piece. So, Bush's African policy, which has won praise by both Democrats and Republicans, was buried at the end. The only significant angle in this piece is that the liberal campaign to smear the 43rd president still rages – and that the political left is still irked at the thought of Dubya having his own presidential library highlighting his legacy.