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Monday, April 23, 2018

The passing of a WASP

Barbara Bush's death brought many glowing tributes. Hers was a great journey from war bride to first lady. Along the way, she gave birth to six babies, witnessed the opening of Red China, and watched the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Her death also marks the end of the Age of the White Anglo Saxon Protestant, a 400-year era in which mankind was liberated from tyranny, from disease, from hunger, and even from the bounds of Earth.

WASPs created the United States of America.

While the Spaniards and the Portuguese plundered their colonies for the earthly riches of gold and silver, the English colonists mined the greatest treasure: freedom.

The New World was the great do-over for mankind. Yes, there were scattered tribes of aborigines in the forests east of the Mississippi. And yes, the settlers treated them at times savagely but to be fair, Indians could be just as cruel.

Indians were not a more peaceful or nobler people. Their ways were primitive, and their technology prehistoric.

But what we now call genocide was for the most part the English crowding the Indians out. The peaceful invasion is the deadliest.

It took the WASPs less than two centuries to harness this newfound freedom into a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Of course Catholics, Jews, people of German descent, and other non-WASP groups also helped found and develop this great land.

But the WASPs by and large led the nation for four centuries and made it the world leader. Those who say we built this country on slaves and immigrants do not know what they are talking about.

We built this country on freedom. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were more revolutionary than anything Marx or Mao or Che ever came up with.

But of course. Our beliefs come from God, not Satan.

Christianity is built on individualism. You decide whether or not to accept Christ as your savior.

By no coincidence the WASPs founded this nation on individualism.

We mock those suburban ideals of volunteerism, patriotism, and family first.

I look upon Barbara Bush's life and wonder what was so wrong about it? What was so wrong with marrying the first boy to kiss her? What was wrong with keeping the home fires burning while he fought the war? What was wrong with following him to the oilfields of Texas, and then to Washington, and then to Beijing?

She and her soulmate had a great life. They knew tragedy. It gave them empathy.

She wrote thank you notes, treated staff like people, and placed people over things. That is why her Secret Service team stayed with her casket, refusing to leave her side. She earned that loyalty.

She and her husband were squares. All WASPs are. The foundation of this great nation was built on squares.

Dana Carvey impersonated her husband and said, "It wouldn't be prudent."

George Bush the elder never said that, but he lives his life that way. So did she. It was the WASP way of hard work and sacrifice.

We called WASPs uptight, but now I realize Archie Bell and the Drells are not the only ones who should tighten up.

I am not a WASP but my how I admire them, particularly all those men on the bills who made this nation great.

WASPs not only built a great nation, but they enabled a middle class to blossom as never before, and not just after World War II. Millions of immigrants flooded the nation. And after centuries of slavery and second-citizenship for black people, the nation in the last 50 years became a paragon of racial tolerance.

That isn't the way of the world. Consider how Zimbabwe and now South Africa have treated the white racial minority with the seizing of farms that families have owned for more than a century.

WASPs are of course a minority now. But their ways -- their ideals -- their accomplishments must continue to prevail no matter who of what race or religion heads the government.

Barbara Bush was the wife of a president and the mother of another, an accomplishment achieved only by Abigail Adams. Likely Bush's son is the last WASP president. Donald Trump is of German and Scottish ancestry.

Let the grace of Missus Bush be the model not just for first ladies, but presidents. Indeed, all Americans.


  1. On my father's side of the family it is 100% WASP. My mother's side is 100% German. I'm proud of both sides. - GOC

  2. Barbara Bush lost my respect when she didn't support Trump supposedly on the grounds that he mistreated women. As a female lawyer/MBA working in finance/ construction of high rises in Manhattan I was aware of Trump as the first builder to hire a woman to build a highrise and aware of all the women execs in his organization. (Just as now he has named the first woman head of CIA.)

    Mrs. Bush apparently welcomed Bill Clinton who did nothing for women. Her problem with Trump wasn't women. Was it he mocked her two sons? I would not fault her for saying refusing to support Trump on that basis, mothers are protective of their children, even when grown. I do fault her for using the reason she gave.

    1. I used to have a lot of respect for the Bush family. No more. They demonstrated, during the election, that they are nothing but petty, rent seeking, political elitists who put their family before the country.

    2. Not to mention her own husband did his share of ass-grabbing, if nothing else. Yeah, he was a pilot and a lot of them are like that, but if we're talking WASPs, we're also talking Know Nothings and slave owners.

      The Scotch Irish, who settled the first frontier weren't WASPs, nor were the many Dutch, Swedes, Germans, and French who fought for independence while many WASPs wore the green coat of King George.

      When I was a kid, it was said that the WASPs may have articulated the ideals of this country, but it was all those lesser races - Irish, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, and, yes, Mexican who expected them to be upheld, and who fought for them to be upheld.

      Jefferson, Madison and the rest were the best of the WASPs, but most WASPs never wanted to let anyone else into the club, except on an individual basis.

      That was true when I was a kid and, if we're honest, still is.

  3. Anglo-Saxon refers to Germanic inhabitants of England up until the time of the Norman Conquest. Trump himself is (at least nominally) Presbyterian, which is a subset of Protestantism.

    Calling President Bush (43) the "last" Anglo-Saxon president seems inaccurate, or at least incomplete without further explanation.

  4. Barbara Bush was a gracious lady, and deserves her place in history; but I for one hope we've seen the last of the Bush presidents.

    As to the WASPs and how they made this country what it was in its greatness, I believe that's true.

    It is those people who the Preamble refers to as "our Posterity" when it says, "... to promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution..."

    It isn't credible that our Founders wanted to extend those benefits to anyone anywhere. They wanted to keep it in the family, so to speak; and as John Adams said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

    He wasn't talking about athiests, muslims, covens of witches or gaia-worshippers when he made that statement.

  5. "Let the grace of Missus Bush be the model not just for first ladies, but presidents. Indeed, all Americans." Well said. Too bad President Dennison was too busying spending his weekend sending out whiny ALL CAP texts with typos and poor grammar than honoring the passing of this former first lady.

    1. Gkad you liked the quote. Too bad the restof your reply lacked her grace.

    2. The White House issued a gracious statement honoring the former FLOTUS on Tuesday. Did you not see it? Or were you too busy repeating gratuitous attacks on Trump that you copied from Slate and HuffPost?

    3. Anony in to whine about Trump (renting all that space in his head): lather, rinse, repeat.

    4. Could be worse Donnie boy, I could have wrote: “43 is a surrogate, Laura Bush is a surrogate, Barbara Bush is a surrogate, Columba Bush is a surrogate, so are Jeb Jr. and George P, plus others, each of whom can swing well north of $50K an event. This is a structural advantage that far outweighs the negative of the Bush name."

    5. Trump suffers the disadvantage of having rubbed elbows with the descendants of the people who (literally) built this country and made it safe. He talks like them and he fights like them.

      Too bad the WASPs thought fighting back went out after Appomattox.

  6. Don,

    Although your general points about Wasps building this nation are correct, the first 43 presidents were not all WASPS. You forgot about Martin van Buren (From Wikipedia):

    "Martin Van Buren was born on December 5, 1782, in the village of Kinderhook, New York about 20 miles (32 km) south of Albany on the Hudson River.He was the first president not born a British subject, nor of British ancestry. [emphasis mine].

    And, of course Kennedy was technically speaking not a white Anglo-Saxon PROTESTANT --- he was Catholic.

    1. Thank you. I did not mean to imply that they were all WASPs. Certainly Kennedy was not. And as you point out Old Kinderhook was not.

    2. Many call people like the Kennedys WASPirants because they so badly want to be part of the club.

      Barry Ozero is perhaps the worst.

  7. Funny there was a time back after WWII when you hated WASPs and actually removed their ethos from our culture. Why the change?

    1. Because the Micks, Eyeties, Russians, Jews, Hispanics, and blacks were cool.

      WASPs, like it or not are whitebread. All those rifle squads in all those old movies had at least one of each because the ethnics knew how to have fun

  8. I enjoyed the post and the comments as well. Very disappointed in their lack of support for our President, even though they are, bizarrely, close with the Clintons. She always seemed like a fine lady.

  9. "While the Spaniards and the Portuguese plundered their colonies for the earthly riches of gold and silver"

    How can you say that. We are to celebrate those who revel in the culture of their colonial masters from Spain and Portugal, i.e., Hispanic.

    And Anglo-Saxon is a bit of 19th century PR. The ones to celebrate are the mixture of Britons, Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Norse (Vikings) that came to make up the British Isles. Even the Normans were Vikings who had settled in what is now France, but also mixed with the local populations. Basically, NW coastal Europeans.

    But we do owe our nation to those of the British Isles who came to this country in the 17th century and, being separated, kept the ideals of the English Civil War alive at the hearths. The British had lost most of their ideals, but the American colonists from the British Isles had not.

  10. The one guiding principle of our lives should be to love people and use things, not use people and love things. Unconditional Love for others trumps all else.

    1. Don: Does this mean you will quit calling a teenager in Florida, "Baby Hitler"

  11. I think Big D’s Main thrust is that they were WHITE. Everywhere else in the world where a non-white is in power, there’s misery, anger, and murder. Hell, look at Soetero.

    1. "Everywhere else in the world where a non-white is in power, there’s misery, anger, and murder. Hell, look at Soetero."

      I have a suspicion that Mr. Surber is perfectly aware, even if you are not, that there is such a place as Japan, that there is such a place as South Korea, that there is such a place as Barbados. There are also a raft of places in this world which are fairly tranquil if poor, India foremost among them.

  12. Dear Colonials
    My Surber wrote eloquently, even movingly, yet you descend rapidly into petty squabbles. Mrs Bush had grace, manners, charm, style, humanity, which seem to have become incompatible with rights, demands, lawsuits, lobbying. Have you any idea how the rest of the world looks at Trump's America? You all need to take a deep breath, ask yourselves how the heck you got into this mess, and make some changes, before the lunatics take over the whole asylum. I won't claim that England is a whole lot better just because you left, and the thought of swapping HMQ for her drippy, clinging son fills me with foreboding, but I suspect we retain a degree of civility which might serve you well. And we certainly dont murder or imprison each other the way you do. Here's a hint. Drop religion. Its an extinct currency, for simpletons not for nuclear powers. Make WASP into WASA, without dropping the civility of the P ethic. Good luck with it

  13. Mr. Walton,

    The rest of the world- particularly the British Isles- should look at President Trump's America as rekindling the fire of freedom, which has grown cold in your land.

    Where once the British Lion stood firm against tyranny, and free men could freely speak their mind, now barbarian murderers roam the streets. The once-free subjects of the Queen are no longer allowed to defend themselves, nor even to carry tools; and anyone speaking their mind is locked up. You have turned your back on God, and your fate is sealed.

    As one of my countrymen said, "may your chains set lightly upon you." Worse will come to you, and history will remember only your past greatness.

    It hurts me to realize that the sun has set on the British Empire, and that it is now gone, save for our fond- and sad- memories of its glory.