This morning I wrote about my indecision regarding whether or not to watch the Inauguration ceremony today. As luck would have it, I didn't have to make the decision. At about 8:30 I left to drive my son to a chess lesson. I didn't get home until almost 1:00, and since I was driving my van rather than my husband's car (the one with the XM radio) I was not able to listen either. After dropping my son off at home I hit the road again, this time heading to the day school for a conference with my younger son's preschool teacher. Then it was home again to work on a proofreading project and do some house chores. (Has anyone noticed that there has been no mention of teaching my children yet today?) By the time I turned on my television set it was 5:30. I was pleasantly surprised to see President Bush speaking live from a welcome home ceremony in Midland, Texas, having departed Washington, D. C. earlier in the day.
Then it hit me: it wasn't President Bush, but rather, as the description at the bottom of the screen made clear, "former President Bush." I've known this was coming for months. And yet I don't think it hit me until that moment. This is for real, and there's no going back. I took a deep breath, called my husband, and settled in to watch the rest of the speech.
There was just one problem. After several minutes, the Fox News Channel cut away from the speech to return to their 5:00 news broadcast and the political analysis of their panel on the day's events. EXCUSE ME? Our former president is saying goodbye, and it's not worth broadcasting?
No matter. There's always C-Span, right?
Wrong. We clicked over, only to discover live coverage of the Obamas watching the Inaugural Parade.
I couldn't find a single station that was carrying President Bush's speech live. I can't describe how sad and ashamed I felt at that moment. This man who has served us with integrity and moral clarity for the past 8 years and has kept us safe and exemplified good humor and kindness does not merit a final listen? What is wrong with this country?
Do you remember this? Eight years ago it was a different story. I recall at that time extensive day-long coverage of President Clinton's departure from Washington, D. C., even as another man, President George W. Bush, was taking his place in the White House.
How soon our ungrateful hearts forget. We're on to the glitz and glamour and fun of the parades and the parties with hardly a thought of the honorable man to whom we owe so much as he fades from view.
I'm sorry, Mr. Bush. I hope some day you can forgive us. May God bless you with much joy and well-earned rest in this new phase of your life.