A number of readers have noticed that I haven’t blogged all this week. I apologize for my silence, but this has been a kind of introspective week for me where I have not really been motivated to write. Perhaps, it’s that I need to complete the first draft of a “concept paper” for my dissertation. And I’ve been thinking about that, though delayed in the execution.
Given that that dissertation focuses on the role the goddess Athena plays in men’s lives, it is remarkably serendipitous that my Athena, the columnist Peggy Noonan, has a great piece on the president today. Not only does she get at some of the failings of this President Bush, but she also shows some insight into his father’s mistakes. That generally decent man “won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had,” but, as Peggy so wisely notes, “did not understand he’d been elected to Reagan’s third term.”
Like his father, the current President Bush seems to place greater stock in personal loyalty than principle. Peggy understands that “personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don’t need hacks.”
As Peggy embodies many of the qualities of Athena, including wisdom, she recognizes that “the great shortcoming of this White House” is its absence of that noble quality. It’s too bad the incumbent Republican president doesn’t have this voice of wisdom to guide him during these difficult times.
If President is to make something of his last 19 months in his office, he needs to follow the lead of the Greek heroes — and pay heed to the wisdom of Athena. For when those heroes took her advice, they defeated their adversaries and accomplished their goals. My Athena has today offered some words of wisdom for the president — and an honest critique of his Administration.
The president has, in the past, from time to time, shown a capacity to respond to well-meaning criticism. Let us hope he can do so yet again. For once again, an Athena helps show the way, offering guidance to a man, capable of accomplishment, but who has lost sight of the path and who needs some direction.
For a sampling of this Athena’s wisdom, just read the whole thing!