During his presidency, I did not like George W. Bush or his policies, even though I always felt that he wasn’t a bad person and that he truly believed that what he was doing was right for America. I never voted for him, and was disappointed when he won the presidency (for two terms), but I also never experienced the visceral level of fear and dread that I do now with Trump in office.
Eight years ago, I never would have imagined that there’d come a day when I actually would start to like Dubya, at least a little.
But last week, Bush said a few things that indicated he definitely did not approve of Trump’s immigration ban, or his attacks on the legitimate media.
“A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.” — Former President Bush in response to question about Trump travel ban
On the Today Show, he said this to Matt Lauer:
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive.”
How right he is.
I also found out he was never a Trump supporter, and in fact, he voted for Hillary Clinton! Imagine my shock.
This week, the New Yorker published an article called George W. Bush’s Painted Atonements. They are from a new book, “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.” The New Yorker article includes a slideshow of several of Bush’s individual portraits and a group mural which Bush painted, from photographs, of 98 physically and/or mentally wounded Armed Forces veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
I knew Bush painted, but it never occurred to me he could actually have talent, and yet he does. These paintings are wonderful and the expressions on the wounded veterans in his portraits capture their pain, despair, and anguish. The paintings also seem to indicate that Bush has compassion toward these wounded warriors, and may be struggling with a lot of guilt over both the wars he got us into. Painting may be how he’s trying to redeem himself.