I am a Democrat. Some may even call me a liberal. Granted, I have never considered myself a political buff, tending to avoid these types of conversations because they become way too heated, way too fast and never seem to end.
Last week’s historic midterm elections absolutely have created more questions than answers for many of us — Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea Partiers alike. Questions like, what will get done in the next two years? Have "we" finally "taken our country back" (whatever that really means)? Is President Obama sure to be a one-term president? In addition to an inundation of other questions political pundits throw at us during our morning coffee and commutes.
Yet none of these occurrences have thrown me for such a loop like the publication of former president George W. Bush’s memoir "Decision Points". Hitting bookshelves this week, there have been a few leaks in the preceding days. For example, Bush did consider replacing Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003. Yes, he did green-light waterboarding Khalid Sheik Mohammed. And yes, Barbara Bush showed him her miscarried fetus when he was a teenager.
Unapologetically candid about these revelations in the new book, it is Bush’s remarks about Kanye West’s infamous 2005 comment during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that is straight comical. He considers West’s notorious "George Bush doesn’t care about black people" remark as the worst moment in his presidency.
If this is the worst moment in Bush’s eight years in the presidency, then yes, he might just be racist, or at least from another planet.
Is Sept. 11 the worst? No.
The thousands of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan? Not at all.
The actual people dying on rooftops and in flood waters along the Gulf Coast? Well, of course not.
Bush is simply absurd. Beyond Hurricane Katrina, he has had a number of questionable incidents regarding race during and after his presidency. Remember his problematic appointment of ultra-conservative Gerald A. Reynolds as chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, who also serves as the Assistant General Counsel at Kansas City Power & Light Company? Or, his long-standing tension with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which only slightly wavered at the end of his time in office? Or, his relocation in 2008 to the historically “whites only” Preston Hallow neighborhood?
Please don’t misconstrue this as my saying Bush didn’t do anything for blacks, or any minorities for that matter; just look at Colin Powell and Condi Rice. Though it should be noted appointing two high-ranking African-Americans to his cabinet did little to compensate for some other, glaring shortcomings.
Regardless of these glaring examples of racial insensitivity on Bush’s part, I’m still questioning what the hell is wrong with him that he is taking the impromptu criticism of a rapper to heart, even years later? Let’s remember this is Kanye "The College Dropout" West; he has always been ridiculous and controversial. Yes, the comment was accurate, dead on point and more than necessary at the moment, but this is the ghost lurking in Bush’s shadows?
No, the memories of Spc. Kevin Dickson, Pfc. Jason Fingar, Sgt. Brandon Maggart, Pfc. Dylan Reid, Sgt. 1st Class Charles M. Sadell and the thousands of other service members who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, are the ghosts lurking in his shadows. The growing number of veterans who are homeless and those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are just some of the people representative of the results of the tragically worse moments in his presidency. A humble word of advice to the former President George W. Bush: The legacies of these men and women should be the talking points receiving more attention during your current public relations tour — not Kanye West.
Jennifer M. Wilmot is a graduate student at MU and a Columbia resident.