Tour of George H.W. Bush Library leads to thoughts of SMU’s future

bush entrance.jpgIt's been ten years since I left the campus of Texas A&M. Soon after my departure, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum came to town.  The library quickly became a university fixture and tourist destination.  .

Friday happened to be my first time visiting the library.  Due to a redesign and construction currently taking place at the facility, there was little to see. When we entered the building there was a short film on the life of Bush 41 that was about to start.  The whole time the film was running my mind wondered, "how in the world are they going to make George W. Bush's life seem this interesting?"

George Bush the senior was a war hero who had returned home and married Barbara before his 21st birthday.  He matriculated through Yale in 2 1/2 years and struck out on his own to become a business man. The film almost made me regret that my fraternity once hosted a program titled "Is George Bush the biggest drug kingpin ever?" on that very campus.

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The building is beautiful and the presence of the library adds to A&M's prestige.  The grounds behind the building are landscaped with colorful flowers and contains a pond open for public fishing. 

After following a path to a nearby footbridge, you are taken through a mini forest (a rain forest on this hot, humid Brazos Valley morning) from which you emerge into a small cemetery.  The site already contains the remains of Robin Bush who died as a small child, and awaits the former President and First Lady. It was kinda creepy.

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There have been a fresh batch of discussions surrounding the George W. Bush Library since last Sunday's Dallas Morning News article detailing more particulars about the facility. 

Opponents fear the current President's supporters will eschew tradition and construct his library as an institute of partisan demagoguery.  With this administration's record it's hard to argue with that line of thinking.  There are already rumors of an ultra conservative think tank being attached to the library.  SMU faculty members have already voiced moderate opposition to the proposed facility.

But the strangest voices of descent come from University Park residents who oppose the library being built in their city. I'm sure many of these folks voted for Bush 43, maybe even because of his stance on terrorism.  Isn't it ironic? Now they site terrorism concerns as one of the reasons they oppose the structure. 

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After touring the College Station facility, the positives of a similar attraction landing in Dallas far outweigh the negatives.  Readers of this site know that I'm no fan of George W, but I am a fan of history.  You can't pass up the opportunity to land an institution with this type of international relevance. 

Sure there will be embellishments: if they can brighten Daddy Bush's domestic record I can only imagine what W's historians will do for his foreign policy disasters.  But the University of Texas has managed to survive their association with the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum.  Johnson left office as unpopular as George W. is sure to depart the White House a year and a half from now.  Time has a way of working these things out.

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