Category Archives: Back in US

Shoot me now!

Surprise, surprise, this is (kind of) a politics related post!

If you are anything like me or if you think even a little like me (I hope you are, I hope you do – otherwise why bother reading my blog?), then I guarantee that you will want to shoot me when you read this post.  To make it easier on you, I give you permission to just shoot me now.

This is the most inconceivable thing that I could have ever imagined writing!  It’s not so hard to imagine that I would be writing about politics.  But the subject at hand and especially my opinion on this topic…that’s what is so unbelievable.

First, let’s rewind to the depressing pre-Obama era of the United States. [If you are a right wing nut, I’ve lost you now. But bear with me. It just might be worth your sticking around].

Anyway, back to pre-Obama. You do remember who was President, right? Not just for one, but two, extremely painful terms in office, after first stealing the election away from Al Gore. Yep, my opinion on that era or on who presided over this country has not changed one iota.

Last week, I was in an interesting position.

Attending a rather cozy (as opposed to huge) industry conference, I had the opportunity to attend the keynote presentation by none other than George W Bush.  The reason it was such an interesting position to be in was because it was so conflicting.

On the one hand, given my low opinion of President George W Bush, why would I take the time to attend?

Yet. This man was after all once the President of the most powerful nation in the world, a country that I live in, am a citizen of and love. So, should I simply pass up this opportunity to watch and listen to an ex-President, up close and (almost) personal just because of my low opinion of him? 

I made the smart choice. I attended the keynote in spite of my low opinions and expectations.

It ended up being not a keynote presentation behind a lectern but more of a “fireside chat” format (see the picture below from this conference) where a company executive sitting beside him asked President Bush some friendly questions. Even if he knew what some of the questions were, this was clearly off the cuff and unrehearsed on his part.

It was a warm crowd for him, given that the setting was among his home crowd of red-Texans. And he was obviously in his element. Yet, even knowing that all of these factors would enable a stellar performance from him, he still threw me for a loop. Which actually goes to show how low my opinion was.

George W on stage at BPOG

Let me describe what my opinion of W was after witnessing this ~75 minute conversation, live and in person. That’s when (if you’re anything like me, or think like me), you get all flabbergasted, irked and irritated at what I am about to say.

[Opportunity #2 – so, you can just shoot me now instead and get it over with]. 

To say that my opinion of the man “changed” is an understatement. During that 75 minute conversation / interview, here are words to describe my quick impressions of W, some of which likely come as much of a surprise (shock?) to you as they did to me –

  • Amusing, droll
  • Smart as a whip
  • Quick (as in, quick and spontaneous in his responses)
  • Humble
  • Intelligent
  • Self-deprecating
  • Caring, warm
  • Hilarious at times
  • Insightful
  • Content and happy with life
  • A family man who adores his dad
  • Extremely faith-based in how he thinks and lives
  • Humanitarian, philanthropic (focused on veterans)
  • Charming and witty
  • And did I say, smart?

I guess one thing you can say about me,  I do have an open mind. 🙂  

By the end of that interview, I was confounded. There was no question that my impression of the man had changed. Not completely, but still…it struck me how quick we are to judge people (especially those in politics).

Does my opinion that he was bad for us as President remain? Absolutely. But behind that opinion were several other opinions of the man himself that were either misinformed, biased, or both.

What now?  

I’m not planning to join his fan club or buy his paintings. [One could say he’s a talented portrait painter, where your art involves copying existing photographs in oils – we were shown a preview video of his paintings; he has painted most of the world leaders he knew and worked with. He is also the first person to say that his signature is more valuable than the paintings].

george w paintings

George W Bush at a gallery of his portraits of world leaders

So back to the question, what now? I guess, now, if someone said I was going to buy one of his books to read, I wouldn’t LOL out of hand. It’s quite possible I may, some day.*

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[Opportunity #3 – this is it. Your last chance. Shoot!].

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* I’m done with reading all 22  Jack Reacher novels in existence and don’t see any new ones on the horizon, so…

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The GOP Reality Show

Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie take the stage during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Instead of watching the Republican debate last night, I should have watched people who were watching the debate. I likely would have seen shock and awe of the really bad kind, boredom and disgust – a range of interesting emotions to be sure.

Words cannot describe the incredible spectacle that was the debate. This is Lincoln’s party? Lincoln must be turning in his grave.

Sixteen candidates, or is that fifteen after Rick Perry’s departure – whatever, all of them sounding clownish, most of them attacking the biggest and baddest clown of them all!  

There was not a Presidential man in sight among them. The only one who came across as remotely Presidential was also the only woman on stage, Ms. Fiorina. Of course, she has her own HP demons to conquer.

The line-up was composed of former and current senators, governors, congressmen, CEOs and even medical doctors – so you know that these are accomplished, intelligent people. But, it’s like something has happened to them by being in this Presidential race. They have morphed into strange people who have left their intellect, pride and principles at home. All except Trump. With him, I believe what you see is what you get, intellect notwithstanding.

I am about as far from the GOP ideology as you can imagine. I guess I should be happy with this clownish theater being showcased by the opposing party. It’s one that is more suitable to a reality show than to American politics. But, enough already!

As I write this, I am watching Wolf Blitzer interviewing Hillary Clinton, and like her or not, the depth and intelligence of her responses are in such stark contrast to the Republican sideshow I watched yesterday.

So, for me, that’s a darn good thing.  But.

Something about the low standards of American politics that we are all witnessing this year makes me sad and slightly sick to the stomach. It doesn’t matter which party it is.

Can we possibly hope that instead of being a sign of things to come, this atrocious lowering of standards ends up causing a major correction in politics and leadership?

You think?  

Nah. 😦

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In case you don’t buy what I’m saying, check out the cover from NY Daily News today:

390-debate-0916

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