I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end,
when I come to lay down the reins of power,
I have lost every other friend on earth,
I shall at least have one friend left,
and that friend shall be down inside me.”
On this inauguration eve, I am inclined to take a look backward for just a moment, before charging forward into all the hope and change that awaits.
George W. Bush
President #43 of the United States of America
Likely, the name above produced a completely visceral response of either anger or poignancy. Probably not a lot of in between.
"W" is kind of a love him or hate him kind of a guy. Likely because he relies on his heart and conviction to guide his decisions rather than opinion polls or text messages. And, while I'm the first to admit his instincts weren't always right, I probably say that because I was on the love him side of the equation more often than not.
I love that he is prayerful and not afraid to admit it.
I love that my family has been safe for the last seven years, and that our country has not suffered another terrorist attack since 9/11. No one, even his most ardent supporters, gave him a snowball's chance at that.
I love that he has a marriage that has weathered some tough, tough times and still prevailed.
I love that he supports Israel. The bible is clear that we won't always support Israel, and I'm glad that we stood strong beside them during W's watch.
I love that Mr. Bush knows Africa is important--many don't know that he knows that, but his spending proves it--more than any other US President in history. One of my sponsored kids is from Africa, which makes me love that even more.
I love his directness. Not eloquence. There's no mistaking that there wasn't much eloquence. But directness - you always knew where we stood.
I love that he has taken the brunt of 8 long years of hate and discontent humbly and quietly. I wish he wasn't so quiet, but then maybe he wouldn't be so humble. I don't know.
I love that those who were his friends on the other side of the aisle (Tony Blair, Joe Lieberman), were there even when it hurt their own popularity.
I love that he gave up his life for 8 years to try and lead this country and make it a better place. I think he gave it his best shot every. single. day.
No doubt I did not love every decision he made. There were many that made me scream at the TV or computer screen. Heck, I doubt even his mom loved every decision he made. But, I'm thankful that he made them. Most of the time using information that I won't know or realize until this earth is long gone. I have the privilege of cheering or dissenting without all the facts. Because I'm an American. And I love being an American,.
So, today, I exercise my privilege to thank the man who has been my President for the last 8 years. Opposite of current popular opinion, I will choose to remember the highlights of those 8 years, knowing that to tear him down today serves neither him nor this country any purpose.
And, if I remember nothing else of his presidency, I hope I never forget this:
If America does not lead the cause of freedom,
that cause will not be led.
George W. Bush