Today we will see the 44th US President take the oath of office. He of course is the first African-American to do so. He is also the first in many other areas. He has done great things already and he is not yet (as I write this) even President. It is right for us to give him praise. But it is also right to give praise to Mr. Bush.
From the very start, at least half of the country opposed George W. Bush. Some of this was right of course, but I think many of us were blinded and ignored the good in him. (And yes folks, there IS good - there ALWAYS is good in ALL people).
I think that Bush in many ways helped make the Obama election possible. Eight years ago, when George W. Bush took office, I don't think it would have been possible for a black person to be elected president of the US. President Bush chose Colin Powell to be his secretary of state. In his second term, Bush replaced Powell with Condoleezza Rice. Both are African-Americans. Bush also appointed high ranking Hispanics. Seeing non-whites operating at the highest level of government, I think a lot of the racists in our country stopped thinking about their race, even if just for a while. Whatever bad things you might want to say about President Bush, I don't think you can honestly call him a racist.
Now I know many who say Bush was the worst US President in history, but in my humble opinion, I don't think that's the way it will play out in time. It may be said though that in his generation, he was president during the worst of times.
In the hours ahead I will be watching the swearing in and all the ceremony, including the parade. The senior senator from my state will be in charge of it all and watching her is always a pleasure. I will be watching with folks from all around the world. I offer my prayers for our new President and I thank God for the service of George and Laura Bush as well.