One of my favorite “news” photographs is the picture of former President George W. Bush handing Michelle Obama a piece of candy at John McCain’s memorial service. In the photograph Laura Bush is watching her husband with a smirk, as George slides a mint into Michelle’s hand. Barack Obama has that classic Dad look on his face. That look that says, “Am I going to have to sit between you two?” It is a wonderful photo of a tender moment at a very solemn occasion. But it is also a photograph that shows how two people with very different social and political backgrounds can not only be friends but love and respect each other.
In an interview with Bush’s daughter, Michelle Obama said this about Jenna Bush Hager’s Dad: “Our values are the same. We disagree on policy but we don’t disagree on humanity. We don’t disagree about love and compassion. I think that’s true for all of us.”
She went on to say about the former President; “He is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather. So we’re together all the time, and I love him to death. He’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man.”
At this very moment there are four living “formers”, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Each of these four men have, in their own way, continued their service to not only this country but to humanity. Of the four, Jimmy Carter, at 96, has probably had the most impact on the world after his presidency but he has also had the most time. It is hard to imagine but he left office almost 40 years ago.
Bill Clinton has been involved in several projects none more surprising than his efforts to raise money for different causes alongside former President George H. W. Bush, the guy he denied a second term too. Over the years these two men, who were on opposite ends of the political spectrum, became very close friends, some even likened it to a father, son relationship. Bush’s own son George remarked at a dinner in 2005, sharing an update on Clinton’s recent chest surgery, that Bill was recovering from his procedure and “woke up surrounded by his loved ones: Hillary, Chelsea … and my dad.”
George W. Bush’s work has been quieter, less public and has focused on veterans and Obama is just getting started with his Obama Foundation.
Over the last four years there have been several occasions that the “formers” have gathered. When you see them together you get a real sense of the respect, admiration and love they have for each other. It is an exclusive club, not as exclusive as the walking on the moon club, but in 231 years there have only been 45 American Presidents, 45 men who will be remembered for eternity.
And then there was Donald J. Trump.
When Trump loses in November think about the next gathering of the “formers”. Three of the current four, Clinton, Bush and Obama have a close personal bond. Carter, because of his age and health has probably had less interaction with the other three. But all share something in common besides being President. Each has been trashed by Trump on twitter and for Obama it happens daily sometimes hourly.
When John McCain and Barbara Bush died Trump did not attend their funerals. No real surprise. I am sure word filtered down that he would not be welcomed at either and besides, Trump hates any ceremony or gathering where he is not the center of attention. Trump did attend the funeral of George H. W. Bush apparently because, on his death bed, George H. thought extending an invitation was simply the right thing to do but man was it awkward for Trump seating on the same pew with “that Muslim” Obama and “Crooked Hillary”. During the proceedings Trump looked as comfortable as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. But I think that memorial service gave us a little insight into what Trumps life as a “former” will look like, lonely, and isolated from that exclusive club of “formers”.
Trump bought the Mar-a-Lago Country Club because no other “exclusive” clubs wanted him as a member, basically no one wanted to play with him. Despite all the unlikely alliances formed by the other “formers” over the years, I suspect once Trump is fired, he will find himself in the same boat of no one wanting to play with him. Maybe what Trump will do instead is start his own club, a former dictators club making Putin and Kim Jong-un honorary members.
In 2016, USA Today did something it had never done since its founding in 1982, it weighed in on a Presidential race urging its readers not to vote for Trump because he lacked the “temperament, knowledge, steadiness and honesty that America needs from its presidents.” But what they did not do back in 2016 was endorse Hillary Clinton. The headline today from the USA Today editorial board is very clear: Elect Joe Biden. Reject Donald Trump.
We are two weeks away. Two weeks away from taking America back. Two weeks away from closing a horrible chapter in American history. But remember to reject Donald Trump you must vote. Do not believe for a second that your one vote won’t count or make a difference. It does, and it will. The message we need to send to Trump and his Basket of MAGA, racist Deplorables is simple, a landslide defeat. No questions, no fraud, no hoax. Let the numbers speak for themselves, that the majority of Americans believe that Trump is and has always been a loser. VOTE!