Meeting Bush

So this last week has been pretty surreal for me. I have spent more time with people from all kinds of different political perspectives than I can ever remember. I had lunch with one guy who works as a banker, who gave me a well-thought out perspective on fiscal conservativism, and five minutes later picked up a hitch-hiker who needed a ride to sign up for welfare.

I had a bit of ideological whiplash.

And then Leslie and I got to meet the President.*

We were invited to go to a fundraiser that he was speaking at, and we really love the people who invited us, so we went. And it was really, really fun. And here are a couple of observations about meeting one of the most famous, influential people in the world.

It was like watching an idea become a person. Bush has spent the better part of this decade being a idealogical lightning rod for whatever people wanted to project on him. And here’s where Leslie helps me. After we visited with him for our 30 seconds of picture taking, I asked her what she thought. She said, “He has kind eyes.” Which is not something I would have noticed.

I told Bush in our short time together that what I really appreciated about his administration was that he had done more than any other world leader in history to fight poverty and AIDS in Africa. And I meant it. Bono is one of many who has publicly praised Bush for having compassion toward the least of these. And while I don’t agree with everyone of his policies, this is something that I haven’t heard talked about that much by the media, and that’s a shame. I had to read it in Vanity Fair (which, by the way, is where I obviously get most of my political insights from).

When Leslie and I were walking away from our photo-op with Bush, I was stopped by a secret service guy who grabbed my shoulder and said my name. Which I didn’t take as a good sign. I saw a thorough frisking and a bright light interrogation in my immediate future. But he was actually a new member at RHCC who I’d met a few months earlier. Which was a relief to say the least.

I noticed how different it was to hear Bush speak unmediated. Without any running commentary from people saying, What he really means is this, or what he should have said was that. And one of the biggest surprises of the night for me was that Bush isn’t like the caricature that has been painted for him. But here’s what I really liked about the night. Bush and I are in the exact same place politically.

That is we are both retired from politics.

The more Bush talked about what he planned to do with his life from here, the more I found myself liking him. He said he refused to be critical of Obama, because he knew first hand how hard that job was and knew the President had enough critics.

I’ve never been one to care for politics, it was exhilarating getting to meet someone who has rubbed shoulders with the likes of Nelson Mandela and Bono, but I don’t like who I become when I begin to care about this stuff. I don’t like the way it makes me treat or think about others. I would rather get my hands dirty with actual ministry than talk about legislation to the people I want to help.

At the end of talking with Bush, he told Leslie and I that he intended on continuing to work with the world’s poorest without being in power. And that sounds like something I’d like to be a part of.

*This is actually the second time I’ve gotten to met a President, to be fair he hadn’t served as president yet, but Bill Clinton held me when I was a kid. Unfortunately my parents don’t know where that picture is.

About jonathanstorment

My family and I love reading, traveling, daddy/daughter dates, playing hide and seek, good music, and long meals with friends. We still miss LOST, and all four of us have Superman uniforms. We are passionate about bringing Heaven to Earth and want to follow Jesus while repainting discipleship for those around us. We are followers of Jesus and I preach at the Highland Church of Christ. We participate in something called A Restoration Movement, and we've come to realize that might be larger than we thought.

9 thoughts on “Meeting Bush

  1. Leslie, I love your perspective! Way to see a person, not a politician, or a hero, or a caricature.

    Jonathan, you sound surprised that the man you met was not like the man you’ve seen in the media.

  2. I like the new look in here, J. And, I love your wife 😉 When people told me they were going to this thing with Bush I thought I couldnt care less about doing something like that but I like your perspective. Miss ya!

  3. Bro. Danny, She was great for me there. Yeah, I was a little surprised that he wasn’t Will Ferrillish.

    Thanks Kristin, it helps me be able to respond quicker and write more often. I no longer need to be on my home computer to update. For the most part I thought we would be like that, but both Leslie and I really had a lot of fun (we got to see a lot of old Harding people too).

  4. Wow, Storment, this is as riled as your blog has made me since that Nashville organization kicked you out of “the church.” The scariest thing that I’ve ever heard you say is that you and Bush are in the same place politically.

    God really dealt with me on W. during his last term in office. I detested not only his policies, but the man himself. . . and God wasn’t having it. If I was going to really attempt Christlikeness, then there was no room for hating W. God gave me freedom to dislike his policies and choices and ignorance, but I was to love W . . and pray for him. It was rough and it took me a while to get good at it. By the end of his administration, I found myself still seeing him as a failure, but not a bad man and not an evil person.

    About his Africa work. . . you’re right the media was quiet about it for the most part. However, had that been either Clinton, Jimmy Carter, or Obama, it wouldn’t have been so hushed. We can speculate on reasons, but W didn’t exactly score points with his base for helping Africans.

    As for “leaving politics”, I see your point, but I hate it when Christians take that stance. Politics is dirty, crooked, and corrupt. . . I get it. However, I remember all 4 of my grandparents telling me their love of FDR because they were in abject poverty until he gave them work. My middle-aged black friends speak lovingly of JFK and LBJ for civil rights legislation. Politicians did in this case what the church in most places has still not done.

    Love you man, even when you’re wrong 🙂 .

  5. I never noticed the height difference, Jonathan. Besides, for all I know you’re wearing heels, too. Of course, when I see a picture of you and Leslie, I mostly see Leslie. I hate to break it to you, but she’s a lot prettier than you are. Sorry.

    But I married WAY up, and Shan is 10 inches shorter than I am.

  6. “It was like watching an idea become a person” Hum, reminds me of something John wrote…

    1JN 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

    This concept (Bush) became flesh and he put his arm around you. You touched him and looked into his eyes. Woo… the applications!

  7. Maynard, maybe if we defined what we meant by it that would help. Politics basically means the care of the city (polis=city) and so in that sense I’ll always be involved with that. I want to be socially active on behalf of the gospel, but I just don’t think power, even the power that comes from my one little vote helps me become the person I want to be. I’ve been preaching through Acts lately, and I’m impressed how much the earliest Christians ran away from power (the only time Jesus met a political leader it was Pilate on the way to the cross). I do count MLK Jr. as one of my greatest heroes, and have a lot of respect for people who can wield power like that, without it corrupting them, but I’m not strong enough.

    Bro. Danny, they were called lifts.

    Thanks Bro Bill for weighing in, I never seen you on here before, but I’m glad you dropped by. See you Tuesday night!

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