In the wake of George H.W. Bush’s death there has been a lot of nice things said about him. That’s to be expected. It’s what people do when a person dies. What has been less expected, although not totally unexpected, is the reaction of many people on the political left. They have been posting a bunch of stuff about what a thoroughly despicable person Bush was. They have been accusing him of everything from decimating an entire generation of gay men to war crimes. I’m not here to defend the legacy of Mr. Bush. I want to point out that the lefties making the accusations seem petty and at least a little bit stupid.
There are only two realistic reasons for people to be posting these things. The first, and less likely, is that people think they can convince others of their views. They can’t. At least not like this. If anything this tactic will further entrench Bush’s supporters in their own views. And even if minds could be changed about Bush, there’s almost no point to it. He’s not in office or running for office, nor will he be. His legacy is in the hands of the historians now. We should all hope they treat him fairly and accurately, not with an agenda.
The second reason, and the more likely reason, is virtue signaling. The people hurling accusations at Bush are just trying to show the world how superior they are to all the plebs saying nice things about Bush. There are two problems with virtue signaling. One, it is incredibly annoying. And two, it just strengthens whatever moral/political bubble these people already live in. It shuts down dialogue and helps prevent everyone from moving forward.
When a person dies, if you feel sad, it is both OK and normal to express that sadness and celebrate the person you miss. If you don’t feel sad, that’s also OK, but leave it at that. If you try to show others that they shouldn’t be sad or act like not feeling sad makes you better than others, you’re just making the world a little worse.