Today’s Bush Library Dedication

I believe the decision to house a Presidential Library, any Presidential Library, at a major university is a no-brainer, and a real honor for that university.

Presidential Libraries become those places where the legacies of presidents are finally sorted out. Historians come to comb the record, write the histories, that ultimately help us shape our views of what happened in any specific era.

President Bush believes history will exonerate his policies, specifically with respect to the moral justification of the Iraq War. That has not happened yet. I see no likelihood that it will. But I am glad that SMU will house the library that will allow academics to create that full historical picture.

The policy institute is another matter. The idea that an independent think-tank –with a stated goal of continuing to develop the ideas of the Bush Administration, free from the university’s guidance– should be housed on university property is a horrible error on SMU’s part.

Frankly, I am ashamed of it.

So, I love the library, because presidential libraries are a good thing for a university’s academic legacy.

I hate the institute, or “think-tank,” and it makes me embarrassed for SMU and Methodists everywhere.

The presence of the five living presidents is a good example of why I believe this think-tank is such a bad idea. Three of those are Democrats; spanning three separate decades of modern American history. The only Republicans are members of the same family.

In the past six presidential elections, Democrats have won the popular vote in five of them. More than any other measure, more than any other poll, that popular vote indicates where America has been these past twenty years.

That means, de facto, that the policies that will be studied at this “think thank” are clearly out-of-step with the majority of Americans today. Again, further embarrassment that my university will be tied to something so out-of-step with the nation.

So, congratulations to President Bush on the Library. I really do mean that. It’s a great day, if we just leave it there. A great day for him. A great day for SMU. A great day for Dallas.

But the think tank?

I can’t envision a time when I will ever believe it is a good idea.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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