As you may have heard, the site for the future George W. Bush Presidential Library has recently been announced. It will be housed at Southern Methodist University, which has been lobbying for its location there since Bush’s first term.
The choice has not been without controversy, of course, and for several different reasons. There are several Methodist ministers and staff members there who find Bush’s actions inconsistent with the ethics and morals of the university, and therefore feel that the location of his library and potential “think tank” there would highly inappropriate. Then there are the scholars who fear that the documents provided to the library will be expurgated, and so carefully selected as to be worthless as an academic resource.
Fair critiques, I am sure, but I really think that we should not rush to judgment. I think the usefulness of the library will have to be evaluated on its actual contents. To that end, I have made efforts to obtain an excerpt from the official catalog of the books and documents that will be housed there, and am pleased to share them with you today.
The early years: Not many people are aware that our President is a lover of theatre. Included in the library is the musical that inspired a not-too-bright, rarely sober young man to obtain positions beyond his training and skills, leaving him wealthy and the businesses in pieces, reminding us all that it’s not WHAT you know, but who yer daddy is that matters.
The heir presumptive: A man with little political experience ran an unusually well-financed campaign for a novice. Once again, it pays to have a well-known name, and as the last 8 years have shown, Bush doesn’t forget his friends. We should not have been surprised that he does not feel beholden or responsible to the voters; they’re not the ones who put him in office, after all.
Leader of the free world: Having been governor of Texas, a large state still considered by many of its citizens to be an independent country, George W. Bush was mentally, if not practically, prepared for the rigors of running a nation. Among the books gifted to the library is this one. It is a perfect specimen; the binding has not even been cracked. More’s the pity.
Manifest destiny: Bush had a clear idea about what he wanted to do in office, never mind stuffy tradition and the Constitution, both of which set a precedent of a balance of powers. He went full-speed into his own agenda, regardless of whose rights were trampled. His certitude and apparent insensibility to irony have been hallmarks of his administration and only continue to astonish. Just recently, when asked what would be lost by opening discussions with Raul Castro, he explained:
“What’s lost by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs? What’s lost is it will send the wrong message. It will give great status to those who have suppressed human rights and human dignity. I’m not suggesting there is never a time to talk,” Bush said, but he added now was not the time to begin discussions with Raul Castro, who succeeded his brother, Fidel, as Cuban leader on Sunday.
“He’s nothing more than an extension of what his brother did, which was to ruin an island and to imprison people because of their beliefs.” And how many uncharged prisoners are still being held at Gitmo?
Shelved in the presidential library will be this volume, the one that helped him make his dreams become reality.
On the lighter side: It’s a tough job, ruining a nation, and after a long day the President loves nothing better than to settle in for some reading. His beloved wife Laura, a former librarian, recommended this one for his reading level.
It’s important to understand, though, that President Bush reads widely, and also likes to challenge himself with more advanced reading on subjects of interest to him, like vacation activities.