Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Their Mothers
Do we ever really know another and why they do what they do? Do we ever really know ourselves? This is a time when deep exploration of our inner and relationship lives is critical for leaders who make powerful decisions that impact societies, often for decades to come.
Autobiographies help us to understand. Sometimes it is later, in the quiet of writing, that true understanding comes closest to what has occurred. George W. Bush gave us incredible insights into aspects of family, culture, and the crises that were part of his life and made him choose certain directions in his presidency. Not surprising that his memoir is titled “Decision Points."
George W. Bush was very forthcoming in a recent interview with Matt Lauer as he prepared to launch his book tour. He gave us a window into the behavior patterns that formed him, especially his relationship with his mother.
When there is passion to stand up for a belief, it is always helpful to take a journey back to what has formed us in our family, in our culture, and in times of crisis. Bush’s opposition to abortion may well have religious roots. It is also clear in the story he told about taking his mother to the hospital when she had a miscarriage.
George was a teenager. He was asked by Barbara to drive her to the hospital. That in itself is unnerving. Even more so, think of a teen boy driving his mother to the hospital when she had the remains of a fetus in a jar to show the doctor. She also showed this to her son.
His reaction: “There was a human life, a little brother or sister." In understanding George, the son, one also had to put in place the pain that was there after his sister Robin died from cancer as a child. Bush once talked about how he took on the role of clown in the family by always wanting to lighten up the sadness and depression that his mother lived with after the death of the little girl.
At the same time that Bush was sharing his private thoughts with the television cameras, Obama was visiting his childhood homeland in Indonesia. The news showed little Barry with his mother and stepfather and baby sister.Continued on the next page