Dear President Bush,
As you prepare for your final day in office, it almost seems unfair that you have to share it with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Yet given how incredibly gracious you are, I suspect you would let us know that you would be honored by this, so I will accept that speculated explanation.
Dr. King was a much better speaker than you. His oratory soared. Yet even he would admit that while powerful words matter, deeds are what count in the long run. Despite attempts by some who try to rewrite history for their own gain, I want to thank you for your many accomplishments, beginning with everything you have done to secure Dr. King’s vision of a truly colorblind society.
Nobody has hired as many black Americans to as many prominent positions as you have. You made Colin Powell your Secretary of State. You appointed Dr. Condoleeza Rice to be your next Secretary of State after a stint as your National Security Advisor. You hired Larry Thompson to be your Deputy Attorney General under John Ashcroft. Rod Paige was your Secretary of Education.
These people were not hired because they were black. They were hired because they deserved the jobs based on merit. You did not make token appointments. You hired good people who happened to be black. That is colorblindness.
Many people blame you for the current housing crisis, which has hurt black people disproportionately. What these people fail to mention was that for most of your Presidency, black home ownership was at an all time high. Black Americans were a larger share than normal of new homes, so it would be totally statistically normal for them to get hurt in larger percentages when the economy changed. What will not ever change is that you gave them access to the American dream. It is hypocritical that some blame you for the fall, yet refuse to credit you for the rise.
Some will forever blame you for the perceived slow response to Hurricane Katrina. That was an unprecedented crisis, and as you mentioned, nobody seems to give you the credit for the 30,000 people rescued off of rooftops. A rap singer even stated that you did not care about black people. You were too dignified to give that the response it deserves, so I will say that the claim is baseless garbage.
You looked past skin color to try and enact policies that helped all people. You did not care about the color of the skin of the people you helped. You considered that to be irrelevant, which is exactly what a colorblind society demands.
The lies about your economy being bad for 8 years deliberately misrepresents that your economy was very good from 2002 through 2007. Yes, 2008 featured a spectacular collapse, but that does not change the fact that for most of your Presidency, the Bush economy was better than that of your predecessor. This led to the lowest levels of black unemployment in history.
Your insistence on tough crime policies were not racist. They reduced black on black crime. Decent black Americans, like decent non-black Americans, hate criminals. They want to feel safe. You sided with the rights of innocent victims, and not their tormentors.
Even your harshest critics are now grudgingly admitting that you were the best friend that Africa has ever had. You committed billions of dollars to Africa to help fight Aids, malaria, and poverty. You gave your word, and the continent of Africa knows that you kept it.
Your faith based initiatives program was a Godsend to religious institutions. Black Americans are more religious than their white counterparts, and black churches help strengthen black families in ways that governments cannot.
Yet you were the President of all Americans. What benefits all of us will benefit black Americans. I would be remiss if I did not again thank you for helping all Americans where it mattered.
You rallied this nation after the worst attack on American soil since 1941, and perhaps ever. As you reminded us, others may have gone back to normal after 9/11. You never did. You led two wars, and turned Afghanistan and Iraq from brutal dictatorships led by madmen into functioning secular democracies.
You freed women in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are no longer physically beaten for leaving the house unchaperoned. They even have positions in government.
You understood that freedom and liberty are gifts from Almighty God. Human beings want to be free. Black people fought through slavery and Jim Crow laws because no human being should ever be the property of another. Eastern Europeans fought and died trying to climb over a wall that eventually could not contain their human desires. Freedom gives people life. It gives them dignity. Millions of people in the Middle East are praying that your vision succeeds.
The War on Terror was not completely won during your Presidency. It might not even be fully won in your lifetime, or even in mine, 25 years your junior. Yet we have made astounding progress in a short amount of time. Some accuse you of shredding the Constitution. What you did was help save all of our lives, so that your critics could have the freedom to criticize you at the top of their lungs. That does not sound like censorship to me. It sounds like democracy and liberty.
You appointed first rate judges. Justice Sam Alito is a fine legal mind, and Chief Justice John Roberts might be one of the greatest intellectual titans the court has ever seen. It is strict constructionists that respect the Constitution the most, by simply obeying it.
As a Jewish person myself, I know that your support of Israel has never wavered. Yet you also made sure that Arabs and Muslims in America were treated with dignity. Your support of Israel was more than just perfunctory acknowledgment of a democracy surrounded by dictatorships. You gave full throttled support of Ariel Sharon to crush those that are spreading terrorism. Beyond the nation of Israel, your deep respect and warmth towards Jewish Americans can be found in your annual White House Hanukkah parties, and your warm wishes to us as we light our candles.
Some said that you ruined our relations with the world, partly because of your support of Israel. The world does not hate us. The world’s socialist, communist, and Islamofacist governments publicly hate us, while privately yearning to be us. They are already burning your successor in effigy, which tells me that the responsibility of the President is to do what benefits America, and only America. Our relations with Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Israel, Australia, India, and Japan have never been stronger.
I could spend hours praising your 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, in addition to your many fine qualities in terms of how you treated every day human beings.
Yet to me you will always be the man that kept us safe. I will always see you through the prism of September 11th, 2001. I will always well up with emotion when I think of you standing with that firefighter on September 14th, three days after the attacks. I still hear your voice exalting Americans. “I hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and pretty soon the people who knocked down these buildings will hear from all of us!” They heard us loud and clear.
I will go to my grave believing that the Iraq War was the legally and morally right thing to do. Reconstruction has been tough, but Saddam is gone. The world is absolutely better off for this. The collateral effects included Khadafi of Libya voluntarily giving up his weapons programs. This was a direct result of your leadership. You labeled Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the “Axis of Evil.” You were right, and one of those three is no longer led by a dictator out to threaten the world. When your critics declared that the Iraq War was lost, you doubled down, ordered a surge, and brought in General David Petraeus. Not only did you hire the best and brightest, you let them do their jobs, and get those jobs done right.
On September 20th, 2001, you told us that America, “would not falter, and would not fail.” You let us know in January of 2009 that we “did not falter and did not fail.”
If anybody wants evidence that America is still a beacon for the world to admire and emulate, just look at your successor. Only in America could his election be possible. As expected, your graciousness and kindness towards him and his family is sincere. Some say you were a divider and not a uniter. This is totally false. You reached out to your critics, and they never accepted your hand of friendship. Your political enemies were the ones who polarized this nation. Your successor mentioned the other day that he thinks you are a good person. His critics need to hear this over and over again. Despite their obsession with division, you remained kind to the end, and were able to unite people that were willing to let decency override partisanship.
Some point to your low poll numbers, but it is easy to have high polls when consequential decisions are avoided. Some of your predecessors let the polls lead. That is the life of a follower. Leaders will always be controversial. History will vindicate you, because as Winston Churchill said, “I will help write it.”
Part of this is selfishness on my part. I believed in you, so vindicating your Presidency will vindicate me as well. I was right to support you, and have zero regrets. You did not get everything right, but life is about getting the big things right. On what truly matters, the preserving of the lives of the American people, you got it right in a way your critics will one day be forced to admit. You got it right “big-time.”
Mr. President, I wish you, First Lady Laura Bush, and Vice President and Mrs. Cheney peace, happiness, and blessings always.
I shall continue to let my friends know how lucky they were that America was led by “The Dub,” President George W. Bush.
As you leave, just know that while you are no longer leading the free world, you will forever be my President.
Luv Ya Dubya.
God Bless You Sir.