On Tuesday we’ll hand over the reigns to the presidency to Barack Obama. Last night Bush gave his farewell address. Immediately people have been assessing Bush’s legacy. First of all, since media in general has a way of thoroughly abusing words, let’s examine the word “legacy” real quick-like:
- Law. a gift of property, esp. personal property, as money, by will; a bequest.
- anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.
- an applicant to or student at a school that was attended by his or her parent.
- Obsolete. the office, function, or commission of a legate.
- –adjective. of or pertaining to old or outdated computer hardware, software, or data that, while still functional, does not work well with up-to-date systems.
Now, we can immediately rule out definitions 1, 3, 4, and 5. The commonly accepted definition of legacy in this case is in fact “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.” I stress this for a reason that is probably obvious already. Bush’s legacy will be what our descendants think of Bush, not what we think of him. That would be our opinion of Bush. Now, since most media is rather loathe to admit to us that 99% of what they print and say are opinions, and not in fact, facts, they’re going to call it anything other than what it is. You have not seen one true expression of Bush’s legacy yet. Period. It’s impossible. You are seeing a lot of opinions of Bush. And, to say the least, there is nothing special about that. A lot of things in the future, some tangible and some intangible, will affect Bush’s legacy. There is no way on God’s green Earth these pundits can anticipate all the events and changing of attitudes over a period of time. In one year it will look one way, in five years totally another, in twenty, well, you get the picture. I’ll just wait it out and see what future generations think about Bush, if they ponder it at all. My gut feeling is Bush’s legacy will dominated by the events that occurred. All the rhetoric you hear now will be totally forgotten over time, as it is with every president. What is left are the major events and how they responded. So, let’s just see how the remnants of those events play out through the course of the next couple of decades and see how that affects Bush’s legacy.