The state funeral for George H. W. Bush and the ritual of oligarchy


The state funeral for George H. W. Bush and the ritual of oligarchy

6 December 2018

On Wednesday, former President George H. W. Bush, who died last Friday, performed his final service to the American financial elite. The New York Stock Exchange was closed for the national day of mourning proclaimed by President Donald Trump, giving Wall Street an additional 24 hours to recover from Tuesday’s 800-point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sparked by concerns over the US-China trade war, signs of an impending global recession and fears over the outbreak of mass working class protests in France.

The memorial service for Bush, held in Washington DC’s National Cathedral, was attended by Trump and every living former president, as well as hundreds of members of Congress, federal officials, judges, generals and corporate bosses. It was a lugubrious affair, culminating in the maudlin remarks of former President George W. Bush, with its inevitable conclusion about his father now being reunited in heaven with his wife Barbara and baby daughter Robin, who died of leukemia more than 60 years ago.

The memorial service for a former president who had previously been a congressman, UN ambassador, Republican National Committee chair, CIA director and vice president was remarkably devoid of politics. The Washington Post reported Monday that the Bush family had insisted there would be nothing like the anti-Trump remarks of Meghan McCain at the recent memorial service for Senator John McCain, informing the White House that they “wouldn’t want anyone there to feel uncomfortable, including the incumbent president.” Thus reassured, Trump sat in the front row of the cathedral, along with the Obamas, the Clintons, the Carters and the Bushes.

The Bush funeral continues a pattern of…

Read more