The New York Daily News reported last month that President Bush and “his truest believers” are launching “their final campaign — an eye-popping, half-billion-dollar drive for the Bush presidential library.”
Bush is attempting to raise $500 million to build a library and think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the alma mater of First Lady Laura Bush. “The more [money] you have, the more influence [on history] you can exert,” one adviser said. Much of the money will be used to build a “legacy-polishing” institute:
The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Bush’s institute will hire conservative scholars and “give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President’s policies,” one Bush insider said.
Now, SMU faculty, administrators, and staff are speaking out. In a December 16 letter to R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees, members of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology have urged the board to “reconsider and to rescind SMU’s pursuit of the presidential library.”
We count ourselves among those who would regret to see SMU enshrine attitudes and actions widely deemed as ethically egregious: degradation of habeas corpus, outright denial of global warming, flagrant disregard for international treaties, alienation of long-term U.S. allies, environmental predation, shameful disrespect for gay persons and their rights, a pre-emptive war based on false and misleading premises, and a host of other erosions of respect for the global human community and for this good Earth on which our flourishing depends.
The letter concludes, “[T]hese violations are antithetical to the teaching, scholarship, and ethical thinking that best represents Southern Methodist University.”