I have strong political opinions, but I don’t talk about them much here and as a pastor, I try to be cautious about what I say. However, I was struck last Thursday as I watched President Bush’s farewell speech. I was struck, first of all with sadness. I have been a supporter of him overall, but have disagreed on several things he has done or not done over these eight years. I won’t go into all of that here right now, but even though I didn’t agree on some decisions, I overall supported him. I was saddened because I could see in him a weariness. Never has a sitting President been so unfairly maligned by the media and left-wing ideologues like George W. Bush has.
I was saddened by the lack of media coverage of the speech on the main networks; while this week and likely next we are subjected to a “love-fest” over the incoming President.
It is sad to me that as I searched for an image of him that 90% of the images that came up were negative, mean-spirited, unfair caricatures of a man who has served this country well during some incredibly difficult years. It is okay to disagree with our leaders…which I do a lot of times…however, the way President Bush has been treated these past eight years is ridiculous. It saddens me that those who are driving this nation and its opinions and its image are the same ones who have such a venomous bitterness in their hearts toward someone whose only crimes have been to serve and lead this country during incredibly tough times; which we can only imagine how tough they have been. It is a disgrace to our nation, how the Office Of The President Of The United States has been maligned (by the way there is no such official thing as the “Office of the President Elect” just in case you wondered).
I will not agree on most things…if anything… with the incoming President, because I think his ideals are dangerous for our nation. I think his direction is wrong. I think he doesn’t have the necessary experience and I think he has just surrounded himself with old ideas and old ideologues that didn’t work when they were tried before. That said, however, we as Christians and Conservatives must not be like those bitter people who have spent eight years destroying the character of a man who, I believe has led our nation well overall. I will pray for President Obama, just as I prayed for President Bush and for President Clinton. I will pray for his family and for those he surrounds himself with and listens to. I will pray above anything else that God would change his heart (especially on certain issues like abortion), that He would give him godly wisdom; and that God would protect our nation from people who would manipulate the President and the decisions he has to make, for their own political gain. Like it or not, God has allowed Obama to be in this leadership position for this season. And God is still on His throne.
So I am saddened, because I think George W. Bush is a man of strong character and conviction and he served us well. I heard Karl Rove once say that he would get so frustrated with the fact that the President would not fight back to the false and unfair accusations against him. Rove said that the President would always say, “Don’t worry about it Karl. History will get it right.” That’s the kind of leader I like. One who never takes his eye off the ball and understands that his job isn’t to be popular, but to lead with character, faith and conviction. I believe he’s right, Karl. History will indeed get it right. George W. Bush was a good President.
Finally, I was struck as I watched his speech last week with gratitude. I want to say a “THANK YOU” to our President…as if he will ever read this little blog entry! I am thankful that he led the charge to dramatically lower taxes on Americans. Allowing us to keep more of our money. I am thankful because George W. Bush has kept us safe in an incredibly tumultuous time. The greatest attack on US soil in history took place September 11, 2001. Yet there have been NO ATTACKS on our soil since then. He has put into place policies that other Presidents…if they are smart…will continue so as to keep us safe in the future. I promise you that there were attacks that were thwarted that we never knew about; things that were done to keep our nation secure that we were never aware of; and because of his integrity, President Bush never told us things that might jeopardize that security. Because he was not and is not interested in building a “legacy” as some politicians and former Presidents are. He was interested in doing the job he was hired by us to do. In his words from last Thursday’s farewell speech, President Bush said, “You may not agree with all of the tough decisions I have had to make, but you’ll have to agree that I was willing to make them.” AMEN! Thank you Mr. President for making the tough decisions. Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for serving this nation so strongly. Thank you for staying on your knees when you made decisions.
So on this, his last official day in office, from this citizen, “Thank you, farewell and may God bless you and your family.”