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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Furrows From More Than Years

Above are two pictures of George W. Bush interacting with two different teenage girls he’d never met. The picture on the right was taken in Iowa. My daughter Kim, then 13, wanted to go see the man we hoped would be the next President of the United States. We had seen him on two previous occasions, but this was a smaller venue in the gymnasium of Hoover Middle School just a few blocks from our home, and we were sure we’d get to talk to him. We did. It was fun. He was making jokes about dads and daughters and having a good time with us. (Peter Jennings was in the press corp, and was jeered when he broke through the rope line and cut in front of the other reporters . I found it refreshing to see that even an anchor will be scorned by peers when he acts like an elitist.)

Karen Hughes was about ten feet to my right at the time of this picture. She is a tall intimidating figure of a woman if you don’t know her (and of course we didn’t), and she was encouraging the candidate to keep moving, but he acted like he was in no hurry and allowed one of his aides to take this picture of the three of us. Kim was impressed by his attention and wished she were old enough to vote.

The picture on the left was taken by a different father in Ohio last spring. He, too, had taken his daughter to see the President. Four years earlier, the young lady, Ashley Faulkner, and her mother had seen him. This time, Ashley now 15, her mother was gone, and President Bush learned that she had been killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Mr. Faulkner said, "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest. I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' That's more emotion than she had shown in 21/2 years….I'm a pretty cynical and jaded guy at this point in my life," the father later told a reporter. "But this was the real deal. I was really impressed. It was genuine and from the heart."

Here’s what sadly caught my eye as I studied these two pictures last night. The picture on the right is like a hundred others you’ve seen of a pre-9/11 Bush. He’s ruddy, energetic, and full of all the optimism that makes a man seek high office. I remember his voice that day and yes, I remember fondly his bow-legged Texas smile (which, I might add, is not a smirk when you can also see his earnest eyes).

Four years later, he still has his smile, energy, and optimism, but as you can see he now has something else—his face now has the furrows of more than time. The man on the right was eager to give us four years. The man on the left has aged at least ten and is willing to be spent for such a time as this. In the last debate, the President said that his faith gives him “calmness in the storms of the presidency. I love the fact that people pray for me and my family all around the country.” This President has earned my vote for four more years, but more importantly, he has proven to be a man of integrity who covets our continued prayer in the weeks and years ahead.


Blogger SusieQ said...

Just finished reading this post. It was very good, Tom. Nice photos, but more impressive is the humanity of President Bush you were able to convey to the reader.

If you catch this comment, go to my post about Independence day and see what Naomi had to say and how I responded to her.

8/7/07 1:08 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

This post was one of my first written at POI--long before anyone knew it existed and long before I knew the "bonus" of comments.
I liked what you said to Naomi so well I cut and pasted the whole thing below. Bush is most eloquent when he is well-rested, not campaigning, and speaking from his heart (ala atop a pile of rubble in NYC after 9-11). Sure he has been caught tongue-tied to humorous proportions of tape, most of us would be if we were recorded all day every day. I'd take that over the "slickest" president I know (or his wife).

So folks reading this old post, here is what a lady named Naomi said three years later and what Susie Q said in return. For an underscoring of SQ's thoughts read the first post in November 2004, which sadly has not played out.

"Well, I doubt that history will remember George Bush as anything but a self-serving manipulating lying NON-Patriot. But that's just my opinion. On one level alone....in the six years that Bush has been President he has not nade one soeech that could even remotely be compared to any speech that Linco;n made. The eloquence of Lincoln---whatever people thought about him was undeniable. The inability of George Bush to put two sentemces together without making some awful gramattical faux pas or without pronouncing some word incorrectly, is undeniable. History is not going to remember that differently along with all the horrific acts that his administration has done to erode the freedoms that The Delaration Of Independence and the Bill Of Rights gave to all of us in The Untided States Of America. The facts of his Presidency speak for themselves. Neither he nor Cheney are above the law, no matter that they act like they are, and speak like they are. They are not, and WE THE PEOPLE will rise up, if needed, to remind this
administration that it is not a Monarcy....it is a Democracy. There are checks and balances as outlined in these two very precious documents.

Lincoln was a truly Great Great President and that fact is undeniable, too.

July 08, 2007 4:28 AM

SusieQ said...
Naomi, thank you for expressing your political opinion here. I didn't really want my post to bring about a political debate though.

I agree with you that President Bush is not a great orator like Lincoln. I don't expect him to go down in history as a President who spoke with eloquence. I get tired though of hearing how he mispronounces words and so on.

You accuse Bush and Cheney of running a Monarchy. Would it surprise you to learn that Lincoln was accused of the very same thing? In the Southern Illustrated News, November 8, 1862, he was referred to as "King Abraham."

Lincoln, too, was accused of eroding our freedoms. He was also accused of being a liar. And of his speeches? From the Richmond, VA Examiner, March 4, 1861: "[Lincoln's] speeches consist of 'condensed lumps of imbecility, buffoonery, and vulgar malignity!'"

Lincoln led us into a war to preserve the union of this United States at a time when the southern states were intent on destroying that union by seceding. The southern states wanted to hang onto their Slave Power and that was under threat.

The Civil War resulted in over 700,000 casualties. The population of the United States was about 50,000,000 then. This was a horrific sacrifice. But Lincoln was convinced that the union must be preserved or all would fall apart. So it was in the best interest of our country that he made the decision to go to war. This is how I understand it.

I think Bush's decision to go into Iraq and remain there till the job gets done was made for the same reason with the best interest of our country in mind. I strongly oppose the use of this week's latest opinion poll in running the country and in making decisions that affect national security. But this is exactly what some people would like to see done. That is unfortunate, because too often too many people hold opinions that are not well informed ones.

I think we need to reserve judgment of Bush the man and not engage in character assassination and not ridicule him at every turn about the smallest things when our country is in such critical times regarding the threat of terrorism. Or maybe you think the terrorists are no big deal. Well, I think otherwise. But it is possible for us to respectfully disagree.

July 08, 2007 6:32 PM

SQ is very good at writing kind, on-target rebuttals without resorting to obvious come-backs like pointing out that in her attempt to point out President Bush’s lack of eloquence, Naomi misspelled or mistyped
nade (made)
soeech (speech)
sentemces (sentences)
grammattical (grammatical)
Delaration (Declaration)
Untided (United)
Monarcy (Monarchy)

(I am a poor speller as you all know so I try not to cast stoans. =)

9/7/07 7:32 AM  
Blogger SusieQ said...

I think Naomi was appalled that I would compare Bush in any way to Lincoln. But I wasn't saying that Bush was of the same caliber as Lincoln, only that they suffered the same slings and arrows from their enemies. Only time will tell how Bush's administration compares to the others in the end. I know he is faced with a challenge like none other we have had.

Naomi is 76 years old. She has some health problems that appear to confine her to her home most of the time. She is part of the Hollywood set it looks to me and shares their political views. Due to her professional background which was in theater, she is chums with Lee Meriwether and the like. Naomi is a whiz with the camera and has taken beautiful close-ups of some of the flowers on her property.

According to my site meter she has not returned to see if I responded to her and what I might have had to say. I think she just got all fired up when she read my post.

9/7/07 11:43 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for directing me to this update. I hadn't seen it until 7-15-07.
Thanks for the explanation. This is another a fine example of how you take all things into consideration as you reply to a person with less grace. I agree... presidents cannot be compared fairly. They're only human in a job that seems at time to require super-human gifts, but I do think your comparison of the criticisms and unparalleled circumstances was very accurate.

Site meter? What is that and what does it tell you? Does it tell you who has been to your blog even if they don't leave a comment? Hmmm... I didn't know those existed.

15/7/07 6:37 PM  

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