Taylor Finn Deadweek Article

Taylor Finn

The power one has from being a president does not all simply vanish once their term is complete. Which is why you hear a lot about the fantastic philanthropy work ex-presidents are doing,or have done. Bill Clinton started a foundation that works to bring clean water to the people of Africa, and has created the Clinton Foundation Climate Change Initiative that provides cities with resources to be more environmentally friendly.


Jimmy Carter recently published a book that speaks out against the mistreatment of women. He has worked tirelessly to educate the public about the pressing issue of sex trafficking, and has used his resources to work towards ending the terrible epidemic. Clinton’s and Carter’s achievements  are prime examples of the type of work that can be done when you carry a title as pretentious as, former president of the United States.    


George H. W. Bush has also accomplished a lot in his post presidency. For instance, he worked with Clinton to create the Bush- Clinton Houston Tsunami Fund, that brought relief to the Southeast Asia after a brutal tsunami damaged much of the area.In contrast,  former President George W. Bush, the son of George H. W. Bush has turned to painting. Forgive me if I am offending any staunch Bush supporters out there, such as my grandfather, boy I hope he isn’t going to read this, but seriously…painting.


I get it, being the president of the world’s superpower is no easy job, and after eight years I don’t blame the guy for wanting to put his feet up and lay low for a few years. But after almost five years of adjusting and relaxing the thing the president is best known for is a sub par portrait of Vladimir Putin?


People would give almost anything to have the kind of power and sway the former president has. Think of all the great causes he could take a stand on, but instead he chooses to paint. I know I am being harsh and I should just cut the man a little slack and let him do whatever he wants but I am a little disappointed. If painting is your thing president Bush then by all means stroke away, but I am just wondering if maybe you could pick up another hobby like working towards eliminating poverty, or tackling the AIDS epidemic, because quite frankly there are a lot of causes out there that could use your help and attention.


I am one of those who believe that with great power comes great responsibility. I dont expect all former presidents to devote their lives to outstanding causes like Clinton or Carter, however I do think that they should use their power to promote a foundation or cause that they care about. I think they have the responsibility to continue contributing to a nation that gave them their power in the first place.


I am sure Bush is a nice guy who donates a lot of his money to great charities, but I wish that he would step away from the paint brush long enough to use his former title to make a serious impact. You can get a lot of things accomplished if you were once the leader of the free world, things that not many of us can do, so I am critical because I hold our former leaders to higher expectations, and although I am a huge fan of the arts I think our dear former president has the chance to initiate some bigger changes.


The kind of work a president does after he has left office says a lot about the type of person they are. It is always interesting to see what causes the former presidents openly support and fund when their are no strings attached and when you have no re-election to worry about. Apparently, Bush is not choosing to capitalize on this opportunity because the first thing that comes up when you search his name on a computer, listen to the news or just simply do some digging, is his new found love for painting portraits of political figures.


I am going to take a moment and give Mr. Bush the benefit of the doubt here and assume that when his collection is complete he will sell his paintings for some outrageous amount of money, a price they are probably not worth, and use his earnings to start a foundation, or bring awareness to an underrepresented cause. At this point I do not really even care which cause his money and time go towards, as long as he is using his power and riches in some positive way.


So we will see what happens and what he choses to do with this new art collection. If I am wrong and these paintings just sit in his Texas mansion then that would be a pretty sad end to the story, but hopefully I am right and Bush can create a new story and re- brand his post presidency, because as of now I am not impressed.