Monday, January 19, 2009

The Legacy of George W. Bush

I just read a very important article about the legacy of our current president -- our president for at least one more day, at least. As regular readers of this blog know, I am quite an admirer of Dr. John H. Armstrong of Act 3 Ministries for his theological views of a "new" ecumenism. His balanced views of both Protestant evangelicals and for Roman Catholics and his willingness to dialogue with both sides fair-mindedly and with great wisdom attract me to his writings.

And his "take" on politics is also one I agree with. His belief that as Christians, we have the duty to support our new president in prayer whether we voted for him or not is one I also ascribe to. And his latest blog post about the legacy of our outgoing president outlines my frustrations with Bush as well as why I still hold a favorable opinion of his presidency. Armstrong's article can be read in its entirety by clicking here: The Legacy of George W. Bush.

Armstrong points out his frustrations with bush's inability to articulate his policies for the Middle East and for our domestic economy -- a point of frustration I also share. But Armstrong also notes two important positive effects of Bush's presidency: the fact that we have not experienced another terror attack on American soil, and his life-saving policies in Africa, mostly dealing with the availability of HIV drugs to millions of infected people.

Armstrong writes:
"George W. Bush has left a noble legacy in Africa. From South Africa to Rwanda, from Ethiopia to Kenya, Bush is appreciated, if not loved. He saved millions of lives and made a difference on this continent like no previous U. S. president. His work to save those suffering from HIV/AIDS is nothing short of remarkable....

Yet some critics, such as the rock star Bono and Bob Geldorf, have become open admirers of Bush's efforts in Africa. Geldorf, who accompanied Bush on his trip to Africa last February, wrote in Time magazine: 'The Bush regime has been divisive . . . created bitterness---but not here in Africa. Here, his administration has saved millions of lives.'"

Armstrong concludes his article:
"I pray for George and Laura Bush and their future work for peace and justice. I also pray for President-elect Barack Obama who has a task before him that few of us could possibly understand. I would guess that one of Obama's best intercessors will be George W. Bush. I would also make one simple prediction: contrary to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, this ex-president will not inject himself into direct and harsh criticism of his successor who enters the oval office with my prayer support this coming Tuesday."

I hope and pray that the Bush legacy will be much more than his detractors make it out to be. I think that as time passes, he will be recognized more for his successful defense of American soil after September 11 and for his "remarkable" legacy in Africa, than for his poor communication skills. I hope that the American people and especially the media, will see fit to applaud our outgoing president for his successes and not see him only for his failures.
The final paragraph above of Armstrong's piece resonates with me. I believe that he is correct about Bush being an excellent intercessor in prayer for Obama as he knows all the complexities and problems lined up for this young president. And I believe that Bush is the kind of man who really will lift up this country and our new Commander-in-Chief in prayer for the good of the United States. I think that George Bush has received a bit of a "bum rap" on many levels, and I do hope, perhaps while wearing rose-colored glasses, that history will recognize his strengths as much as his weaknesses. Only time will tell.

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