Bush on Campus

There are a number of things taking place on campus; we had Barbara Bush speak to us during our International Cultural Day assembly. That event went very well, though I am still not enthused about the lack of a Black History month assembly. I am working to restore that. Plus, I have some other ideas. First lady Bush spoke with confidence; she talked about the importance of being open-minded. The importance of respecting ALL people for who they are and what they have to offer. I knew I liked H.W. and Barbara Bush for a reason. In truth, I suspect they are far more socially liberal than most people realize.

Above First lady Bush stands on stage in front of myself, other faculty members and students, as well as invited guests from other countries. This was my second time to hear her speak. I first heard her give a lecture while an undergraduate student at Harding University; however, the difference of course is in money. Seeing that she has a grand child attending here, I am sure we did not spend $50 – 60,000 for a speaking fee. Th

This past summer, our head of school and other important people not named Carson, flew up to Maine to secure naming rights for our new conference center; it will be named the George H.W. and Barbara Bush Center for Scholars and Leaders. I am not sure about how the resources and endowment elements of this work.

                        Above: Ashley Consolvo, Emma Barr, Amie Leitko,Carson, Liz Constantinou, Meg Goode, and Taylor Porchey

In response to having Barbara Bush on campus, students were in uniform. This is not the norm on Friday. A number of my favorite students asked me to wear a sweater vest with them. The idea of course was to pose for this great picture. This is one of only a few times in life I have felt like a rock star.

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A Point of View on Bush

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Harding University is aptly being referred to as Fox News University; if you are associated with this highly conservative school or know much about its right-wing values, this point does not shock you. It appears that Harding enjoys educating the masses on how not to be balanced when it comes to various points of view. Let me be clear here: I am speaking of its prestigious American Studies Institute, a quasi think tank that hosts a speaker forum that has included the likes of former Soviet Union premier, Mikhail Gorbachev…whom I had the chance to hear speak. However, they have also brought in or invited the likes of ideological pundits who offer very little to intellectual discourse such as, Laura Ingram, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity. I am not speaking about all members of the faculty at HU. There are a number that encourage students not to hold true to certain values because they appear to be ubiquitous or institutional.

Keep in mind, they have brought in speakers that add some semblance of value to the academic cultivation of thinking. This past April George W. Bush was the speaker; I most recently used him as an example of how parties can shift one’s ideology too far in one direction. Case in point: the Republican Party has become known as an ideological right-wing party that caters to its base: white, religious Christian, upper middle class, and anti-federal government. The same can be said of the Democratic Party that caters to those who favor taxing the wealthy, expanding social reforms to the masses, and employing a system of greater pluralism.

There are two things Bush did during his speech that impressed me:

1. He stated that he would not take punches at Obama — which of course the highly right-wing audience wanted him to do (see video here).

2.When asked about religion and politics, Bush stated “I think it’s really important for the United States of America never to lose the vision that we can worship any way we want to in America. You can be a Jew, Christian, Muslim, nothing, and you are equal. That is vital freedom, an essential freedom, to the future of this country.”

Point #2 is a great point; it is one that speaks to the beauty of American pluralism. Bush realizes that he can be a leader and speak to the processes of America without fear of “others” pushing him farther to the right. In the end, the United States is a liberal nation; if one disagrees with this, I recommend reading the Bill of Rights.

Alcohol, Health, and the President: Can He Drink?

OK. I will admit that I hate listening to music when on a run; better yet, as a blues man, I prefer to think; however, there is only so much one can think about while conducting a training run, as was the case for me yesterday. I did my last “real’ run for the week before this weekend’s marathon.  A 12  mile hop around Memorial Park. I have already accumulated too many miles this week…. I have logged about 40.

While thinking and running, I was pondering this question — Does the president or any president have the right to consume alcohol? Obama recently had a physical and the truth sort of came out Though he is thin and looks healthy, he could do better. George W. Bush, in my opinion, was a better athlete and more fit than Obama — at least at this stage in office. Obama, who has a professional staff to cook for him, often eats like a 17-year-old.

But the real question is that of alcohol consumption. A pilot cannot drink within a certain period…and even then, he must use “good judgment” on what he drinks and how much (as we all should as responsible and mature adults). Most Americans that work cannot consume alcohol during the work day. The president is always on duty…much like a medical doctor on call. Even when on vacation he must fully be in absolute control of his faculties. I do not know the answer to this, but I want to know your thoughts. I congratulate W Bush for defeating his battles with alcohol, now I suspect Obama must do the same with smoking; his health is absolute and in many ways he is responsible for it.

An Objective Look at the Bush Presidency by Patrick Ryan

Patrick Ryan is a a junior at HCHS; he is a frequent reader of the Professor and has written posts here before. Feel free to leave a comment addressing his thoughts on the Bush epoch.

George W Bush

There is no doubt on my mind that almost every citizen of America today has their own views about the way that George Bush handled his term of presidency from January 20, 2001, to today, January 20, 2009. While each person has the right to their own opinion about how Bush acted during his tenure as the Commander-in-Chief (and the right to share these views with others), it has always been my theory that third party, non-biased historical accounts are what truly define the way that people think because it allows the reader to synthesize their own opinions and possibly even allows that reader to consider ways of improving ideas that may have been glossed over in a positive light in more biased historical accounts (ex: The New Deal). Perhaps it is my right brained tendencies that lead to my preference of objectivity over subjectivity. However, it has been increasingly difficult to come up with a definitive historical account of the Bush presidency that was free from the bias that our media has so readily embraced over the past decade. The following article was written by a historical idol of mine named Andrew Roberts, the writer of many books about the subject of warfare and the leaders therein. I found his article about how the Bush Presidency will someday be remembered to be very well written while also incorporating a minimal amount of bias and so thought that I would share it with you. Here is the link if you want to read some of the numerous comments that readers have left for him.

Here are a few examples:

In the avalanche of abuse and ridicule that we are witnessing in the media assessments of President Bush’s legacy, there are factors that need to be borne in mind if we are to come to a judgment that is not warped by the kind of partisan hysteria that has characterised this issue on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first is that history, by looking at the key facts rather than being distracted by the loud ambient noise of the 24-hour news cycle, will probably hand down a far more positive judgment on Mr Bush’s presidency than the immediate, knee-jerk loathing of the American and European elites.

At the time of 9/11, which will forever rightly be regarded as the defining moment of the presidency, history will look in vain for anyone predicting that the Americans murdered that day would be the very last ones to die at the hands of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in the US from that day to this. The decisions taken by Mr Bush in the immediate aftermath of that ghastly moment will be pored over by historians for the rest of our lifetimes. One thing they will doubtless conclude is that the measures he took to lock down America’s borders, scrutinise travellers to and from the United States, eavesdrop upon terrorist suspects, work closely with international intelligence agencies and take the war to the enemy has foiled dozens, perhaps scores of would-be murderous attacks on America. There are Americans alive today who would not be if it had not been for the passing of the Patriot Act. There are 3,000 people who would have died in the August 2005 airline conspiracy if it had not been for the superb inter-agency co-operation demanded by Bushafter 9/11.
The next factor that will be seen in its proper historical context in years to come will be the true reasons for invading Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in April 2003. The conspiracy theories believed by many (generally, but not always) stupid people – that it was “all about oil”, or the securing of contracts for the US-based Halliburton corporation, etc – will slip into the obscurity from which they should never have emerged had it not been for comedian-filmmakers such as Michael Moore.

Instead, the obvious fact that there was a good case for invading Iraq based on 14 spurned UN resolutions, massive human rights abuses and unfinished business following the interrupted invasion of 1991 will be recalled.

Similarly, the cold light of history will absolve Bush of the worst conspiracy-theory accusation: that he knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. History will show that, in common with the rest of his administration, the British Government, Saddam’s own generals, the French, Chinese, Israeli and Russian intelligence agencies, and of course SIS and the CIA, everyone assumed that a murderous dictator does not voluntarily destroy the WMD arsenal he has used against his own people. And if he does, he does not then expel the UN weapons inspectorate looking for proof of it, as he did in 1998 and again in 2001.

Mr Bush assumed that the Coalition forces would find mass graves, torture chambers, evidence for the gross abuse of the UN’s food-for-oil programme, but also WMDs. He was right about each but the last, and history will place him in the mainstream of Western, Eastern and Arab thinking on the matter.

History will probably, assuming it is researched and written objectively, congratulate Mr Bush on the fact that whereas in 2000 Libya was an active and vicious member of what he was accurately to describe as an “axis of evil” of rogue states willing to employ terrorism to gain its ends, four years later Colonel Gaddafi’s WMD programme was sitting behind glass in a museum in Oakridge, Tennessee.
With his characteristic openness and at times almost self-defeating honesty, Mr Bush has been the first to acknowledge his mistakes – for example, tardiness over Hurricane Katrina – but there are some he made not because he was a ranting Right-winger, but because he was too keen to win bipartisan support. The invasion of Iraq should probably have taken place months earlier, but was held up by the attempt to find support from UN security council members, such as Jacques Chirac’s France, that had ties to Iraq and hostility towards the Anglo-Americans.

Thoughts on America’s Presidents

I was having a conversation with a friend today about America’s presidents, and thought I would re-post this categorical list. Note: I will let other historians judge W once he is out of office.

Category I – Most intellectual Presidents – Criteria: bookish, academic appeal, education, communication skills, publications/scholarship, and awards.

  1. Teddy Roosevelt 1900 – 1908

  2. Thomas Jefferson 1800 – 1808

  3. Woodrow Wilson 1912 – 1920

  4. William Taft 1908 – 1912

  5. Bill Clinton 1992 – 2000

  6. John Adams 1796 – 1800

Category II – Failed Presidencies – Criteria: Intra-Party Conflicts, Lack of Congressional Resolve, Poor Domestic and International Agenda.

  1. Andrew Johnson 1864 – 1868

  2. Ulysses Grant 1868 – 1876

  3. Jimmy Carter 1976 – 1980

  4. Herbert Hoover 1928 – 1932

  5. Richard Nixon 1968 – 1973

  6. Rutherford Hayes 1876 – 1880

Category III – Most Known/Popular Presidents – Criteria: Presidents People Attending a Paris Hilton Party would Know (before 1968).

  1. George Washington 1788 – 1796

  2. Thomas Jefferson 1800 – 1808

  3. Abraham Lincoln 1860 – 1864

  4. John F. Kennedy 1960 – 1963

  5. Teddy Roosevelt 1900 – 1908

  6. Franklin D. Roosevelt 1932 – 1944/ Woodrow Wilson 1912 – 1920

Children are the Future

Even with the rise of the black bourgeoisie, finding lots of black Republicans will deserve much effort. Black folks have allowed the Democratic Party to encapsulate them in the largest voting block in the United States. It boils down to this simple fact: blacks do not trust either party much, especially members of the lower working class. This picture sums up not only the African American view of Bush, but the view of many Americans as he fights his lame duck presidential phase.

This picture was taken on MLK Jr. day.

Against the War

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Just like my heros, Muhammad Ali and Malcom X, I too refuse to support a war I deem unjust. However, I do support our troops who are fighting for my right to voice my political and ideological views on a blog. As part of my protest, I received in the mail today a shirt I ordered that states “Bush Lied” on the front, “They Died” on the back. The letters as quoted are made up of a list of men and women who died in this ideological “W” war as of August 30, 2007. I think it is important that academics reserve their sense of patriotism and focus their attention on analysis. Patrotism can be blinding and dangerous. This does not mean one must stop loving his or her country.