Other than being the mother of George W. Bush, known for her trademark three stranded pearl necklace, Barbara Bush was also the former First Lady of the United States. She is remembered for her grace and wisdom, however others remember her for the opposite.
After her death, The Women’s March Twitter account tweeted an empowering post stating, “Rest in peace and power, Barbara Bush,” which stirred up replies of outrage from many Twitter users.
The fact that the Women’s March organized the largest feminist protest in the country’s history is one thing but to share rest in peace quotes is another. Posting a message like that makes the Women’s March look oblivious to Bush’s history. Not to mention that it shows they’re unaware of how to truly take a stand for women.
True feminist movements should be well researched, deeply understood, and intersectional as well as having the ability to critique women who can point us in the the direction of empowerment and equality. This means looking back on what was accomplished as well as the negative impacts before highlighting a feminist.
Bush founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy back when she served as the First Lady. She leaves behind her legacy of starting this nonprofit with a goal to empower families through literacy and set out to raise awareness in the importance of giving children and their parents the opportunity to learn and achieve together. Although her work has helped to improve the lives of many families across the nation and continues to inspire the next generation of learners, let’s not turn a blind eye to her snobbish, heartless comments.
In an interview with Diane Sawyer back in December 2001, Bush basically stated that she didn’t want to waste her “beautiful mind” on casualties that might be sustained during the war in Iraq. On national television, before the commencement of the invasion of Iraq, the former first lady said, “Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?”
It’s clear that to Bush, incoming casualties were considered a waste of time, which is like Donald Trump ignoring the fact that a man risked his life to stop an armed gunman from injuring more innocent people at the Waffle House in Tennessee. Trump would rather discuss matters of people who actually support him, just like Bush would rather talk with an unfiltered mouth before actually taking the time to think about saying something that will unleash an uproar of backlashing from society.
Another one of Bush’s memorable words where the ones she used towards the evacuees in the Astrodome after the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. While touring a Houston relocation site, she mentioned that many of the poor people she had seen were managing better than before the storm hit. She went on to call them “underprivileged anyway.”
Then again we have to remember that she born into a world of exclusive white privilege. It’s also an understatement to say that Bush was removed from having any aspect of sympathy, empathy, or any other comprehensive understanding for the Black people of America.
For instance, she had a complicated relationship with black America. She had racist tendencies when it came to discussing racism in America. She showed her apparent indifference to the plight of black women’s quest for legitimacy. When American attorney and professor Anita Hill accused nominee for Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, Bush victim shamed Hill.
On top of victim shaming, she endorsed a campaign to re-elect Maine Governor, Paul Le Page. Bush supported him by appearing in an ad campaign for Le Page, who called people of color “the enemy right now.” The Women’s March Twitter post shows that they’re propping up a straightforward being, as if she were some trophy on a shelf.
It seems as if the Women’s March has lost their way to the goals they had and moved into a more easy-going position of advocacy rather than take on a challenge. True, meaningful inter-sectional feminism does not erase or ignore the oppression of millions of people. They take action and fight for what’s right for the people.
Barbara Bush has done some things that are highlighted and leaves behind a positive legacy. Everyone deserves to be respected in death but again, let’s not forget what commentary she leaves behind as well.