Why I won’t thank President Bush for President Obama

Everyone who knows me knows that I was extremely pleased to see President George W. Bush leave office on January 20th, 2009. He was the worst president that I have studied. He and President Obama are polar opposites in style though obviously legacies can’t be compared yet. Over the last few months, however, I have heard something on radio and television from personalities such as Michael Baisden that has been disturbing. These individuals have actually thanked President Bush for making the country so bad that it had to elect a black man. Though I understand the logic behind this thinking, this is the wrong philosophy to have if we are truly trying to advance as a nation.

Under President Bush, our economy crumbled and we made opposite strides in education. Despite these two tragic missteps, the unnecessary deaths that have occurred under a war under false pretenses and the catastrophic response to Hurricane Katrina, make me glad that he is gone, but in no way “thankful.” I am just not that person who believes that mass death and destruction have to occur in order to see a brighter day. We must remember that the times we live in right now are not brighter for everyone right now and I’m not referring to Obama’s political rivals. I’m talking about real everyday people.

As this blog is being written, there are families right now who still haven’t grasped the fact that their son isn’t coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan. There is still someone’s daughter trying to find the remains of her mother who was lost years ago to Katrina. While we can argue back and forth about who is really responsible for creating the economic disarray that we find ourselves in, we can clearly link the deaths and displacement that occurred in Iraq and in the Katrina aftermath to Bush’s policies.

As much as I have been inspired by our new president, if someone asked me if I would endure what we have over the past 8 years in order to live to see the first black President, I would have to say no. I would have to think about losing one of my own family members in an unnecessary war or in a failed response strategy to a hurricane. As we usher in a new day as Americans, we need to be humble in the excitement we have for our new president. We need to make sure that we are moving forward as one country as opposed to cursing prior administrations because “our guy” won and not shove fingers in each other’s face. We are all in this together.

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