It is a truism that no person, no leader or president, is all good or all bad. The recent Tribune column by Kathleen Parker, almost fawning over the personal qualities and kindnesses shown by George W. Bush, revealed a side of him little known to the American public.
Likewise, the gutsy letter to the editor by reader Victoria Grostick brought out major failings of President Bush, actions better known to the world, which leads that reader to proposed punishments that are seen as deserving and just.
It is not my point to analyze the two contrasting views, but instead to point out that there is in fact little connection between personal behaviors of political leaders and what history will remember of them.
Do we think that Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler or any of a host of dictators and tyrants did not kiss babies, tell jokes, offer hugs and give words of comfort to the bereaved when the opportunity served them? We have to stop fooling ourselves by taking slices — good or bad — from the overall record of accomplishment.
And we need always to remember the famous line from Caesar: “The evil that men do lives after them; the good lies oft interred within their bones.”