The Bush library architect is selected, but it’s not too late to suggest epigraphs for his and the building’s facades.
George W. Bush‘s grandest reinforced-concrete legacy — except for the billion-dollar U.S. Embassy in Baghdead being built by shanghaied Filipinos — finally has an architect.
No surprise that it’s a New York City firm hired to design Bush’s presidential library and museum. The name behind Robert A.M. Stern Architects is Yale’s architecture dean, and it’s a hoity-toity firm. Besides, Bush’s New York chum Roland Betts was on the selection committee.
As much as the POTUS library handlers are trying to burnish diffident reader Bush’s image for future generations, the president’s only certain legacy so far is the one he used to get into Yale because his daddy went there.
The George W. Bush Presidential Libary, however, will be a monument in 3-D, and it’s not too late to suggest that its name and a suitable epigraph from Bush’s own words be carved on its front facade. I’m thinking of Bush’s August 5, 2004, speech as he signed that year’s defense bill:
For that bone mot, go to this White House page for the transcript, video, and audio.
That quotation probably won’t pass muster with Bush’s crew. But it has to be something memorable and/or important, like this August 4, 1822, quotation by James Madison, which is inscribed on the Library of Congress building bearing his name and which was dedicated by Ronald Reagan:
In the alternative, here’s a modern-day quotation that seems apropos:
No, that’s not about Iraq; it’s from a January 6, 2002, essay by Israeli novelist David Grossman, concerning the Arab-Jew death dance. Don’t expect to see that quote in either the Israel or Iraq wings of the Bush Libary, though historians will remember the disastrous road to death in Israel as one of Bush’s legacies.
You could pick just about anything from Martin Luther King Jr., but here’s a morsel from King’s 1967 anti-war speech at Riverside Church in New York City. Taken out of context, it’s also perfectly in context, in a Vietraq sort of way, as a description of Bush:
Maybe carving an epigraph like that into a building is just too old-fashioned for the computer age, and the Bush Libary simply needs something for people to click on.
All you have to do is click. It’s a Windows command, so it should work perfectly.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 29, 2007