Friday, January 16, 2009

Bush Enters History

I spent ten minutes this morning watching President Bush's farewell speech. It only took me a few of those to realize that the majority of the accomplishments (or "accomplishments" to those of you who can't avoid sarcasm when talking about the President) Bush listed are in fact what history will remember him by.

Changes enacted by the Bush administration that many of us overlook—the new Department of Homeland Security, to name one—are in fact institutions and government policies that will continue in the Obama administration and for decades to come. Rather than disregarding the Bush years as a dark period into which Obama will restore order and harmony through a thorough cleaning, we should remove Bush himself from the picture and consider the changes over the past eight years at face value.

Conceived by the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the Department of Homeland Security was seen as a safeguard against further, future intelligence failures. The agency that was once an embarrassment to the Bush administration now serves as a great opportunity for future improvement of our defense and intelligence agencies.

On a less tangible level, Bush has also written his long-term policy legacy. Now clearly visible are Bush personal convictions with regards to the war on terror, America's role in spreading democracy around the globe, AIDS relief, and the importance of faith-based charities. Ten, twenty, or fifty years from now those attitudes will place alongside Eisenhower's warning against the "military-industrial complex" and other major philosophical/political precedents.

Bush's speech may have afforded leftist pundits like Arianna Huffington a great and final opportunity to hold failures above the President's head, but it was Bush who revealed the most about his legacy last night.

4 comments:

phattrick said...

There isn't a polite way to describe Bush.

Mike Copacino said...

I think that although you are right in saying how effective the Department of Homeland Security was and how it will be remembered as a sucess of the administration I have to disagree with when you mentioned that he will be remembered positivly for his stress of faith based initatives. Durring his presidency Mr. Bush greatly loosened laws regarding seperation of church and state, and not that the aid that the faith based initiatives is a bad thing, but it is being provided by people who idenify them selves as Christans, not Americans. It simply does not make sense that a country with no national religion is giveing so much to people who are dedicated to spreading Christianity to the world. Amoung other things I will reguard Mr. Bushe's presidency as a time when the goverment began to treat America as a Chirstian (stem cell research, abortion, et al.) nation instead of the religiously diverse nation it actualy is. Sadly if the words of Rick Warren and some of Barack Obama durring last weeks inaugriation are any indication this move to a Chirstan view of America is somthing the new administration is doing little to rectify.

Hope your enjoying South Africa mate

Adam Vartikar said...

Interesting - disentangling present emotion with objective events. I quite agree with the sentiments of this last post, Luke. In this age, when it comes to discussion of George W. Bush, it is very difficult for Americans to view events from an unbiased and emotionally discharged stance. I personally attribute this occurrence to the current technological presence in our day-to-day lives. Essentially, if the media wants the masses to think something, there are myriad channels by which they can sculpt the public's opinion. The truth of the matter is that George W. Bush will not be looked at unbiasedly (either you have to hate him, or by loving him, you have to be purposefully loving every single thing about him in defiance of the norm) for years to come. However when that time arrives, I believe that the aforementioned acts, national security, Iraq and Afghanistan, etc. will be viewed as truly impressive in magnitude and dynamic, in a way, in thought and action. Essentially, I feel that history will have a way of taking the absolute value of Bush's actions; and the public's thought will be a separate component altogether.
As per the faith based initiatives being detriment to the ideal of the separation of Church and State, I think there needs to be perhaps a closer look at what the forefathers intended by that facet of our government. I do not believe, looking at things such as the dollar, lets say, that there was ever intended a disjointedness between Christianity and America. On the contrary, I think that America is a Christian nation by birth and ought to be a Christian infused nation (and there is not a drop of Christian blood in me, mind you). I think that the forefathers more intended that religious ideology would not dominate or strongly influence matters and decisions of the State as they had in England or earlier governments of the time. Essentially my point is that the greater presence of Christianity is not the problem. The erosion of American legislation by Christianity would be a much greater dilemma. And the only places I myself really witnessed that play out was relating to abortion and stem-cell research, which were contentious items before and after the presidency. Again, citing Barack Obama's inauguration, possibly the largest and best way to paint the new image of the new American government to the world; they obviously had the option of not allowing such a religious presence, but that option was clearly eschewed in favor of one fairly in step with the previous administration. We are clearly a Christian infused nation, and I kind of like that.

Alicia Googins said...

I'm so sick of people being rude about former President Bush. It's soooo trendy to be dissenting towards him and yet kiss the earth where Obama treads because he's "cool." Thanks for being unbiased, Luke.