This week experienced a national day of mourning for the death of President George Herbert Walker Bush, 94. The former commander in chief died Nov. 30, just seven months after the death of his wife of 73 years, Barbara, in April.
Known as 41, especially by his son George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, served but one term 1989 to 1993 in the White House before being voted out in favor of Bill Clinton.
I often toy with the idea of the path not taken. The “what if” factor.
Had the country known the full back story about Bill and Hillary, would Bush 41 have been voted a second term? If he had served a second term would the country been ready for the second Bush presidency? Even if 43 were destined to be POTUS, would the events of Sept. 11, 2001, have been altered or averted?
I recently reread the Stephen King novel “11/22/63,” a what-if? book about a time traveler that has found a portal to the past. He uses this to stop the assassination of JFK. I have often wondered what our world would have become had Kennedy served a second term. Would he have pulled us out of Vietnam and saved at least some of the lives lost in that conflict?
If the press in 1993 performed its jobs in the bare-knuckle manner employed today, what would that election have been? If George W. Bush had been elected under this altered reality, would former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have been elected POTUS 44 or 45?
That is my favorite idea for a science fiction story. A television set that allows one to dial into a video feed of the what-if path not traveled.
Comparisons between the man laid to rest this week and the current resident of the Oval Office are bound to be made. They are two very different men living their presidencies under very different circumstances.
President Trump lent his aircraft, dubbed Special Air Mission 41 for the occasion, to bring Bush’s remains to Washington, D.C., to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
According to Fox News people waited for hours in the cold to pay their respects to the former president.
Bush was a professional statesman who spent much of his life in public service. He attained the rank of lieutenant as a U.S. Navy pilot during World War II. During a bombing mission, his Grumman TBM Avenger aircraft took a fiery hit and he was forced to bail out. He spent several hours floating in the water before being rescued, according to ABC News.
He served in Congress and as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. As head of the CIA he effectively took on the role of head spook in a department charged with keeping our nation’s secrets under wraps. He served as vice president for eight years under President Reagan.
While he was only a one-term president, he is credited with being at the helm of our country during the reunification of Germany and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
Last week on “Saturday Night Live,” the comedy show paid rare and respectful tribute to him. The show played a video clip of him joking with and scolding Dana Carvey who played him in many sketches through the years.
May you rest in peace, Mr. President, may you become one of your thousand points of light.
Long days and pleasant nights, and have a good weekend.
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