Gratitude, modesty, hope, optimism, and the appeal to national community all mark the final words of our country’s leader to the nation. He did all that he did to protect the nation, he assured us. As we bid farewell to this man, what do we make of the virtues of gratitude, modesty and hope he offers? How can a man whose administration sought and received more power for itself (and strong armed any that thought differently) demonstrate such virtue? He has hoped to cast his legacy under the rubrick of “leading for fellow citizens,” and then, under the guise of democracy, suggests that the people’s president, Barack Obama, has the same task. In other words, there’s what we all want, a better future, and then there’s the world today, a dark and scary place. Bush wants us to remember that in this dark and scary place he did his part to secure our future. If it’s darker and scarier, it’s not his fault because he’s just one of us and is modest about it. Bush, not only have you made the office of president scarier, you’ve used words of virtue to cover up what you are, which is the opposite. A thankful heart, modesty, deferring to wiser minds, these are qualities of someone willing to share power. You didn’t seem to need any of that in 2003. Looking back on your environmental policies, you knew you were wiser than the entire scientific community. Coal was the future of energy. You show such great humility only just before you give up the most powerful position in the world. Much like Illinois Governor Blagojevich, you see things in your own special way. I’m not sorry to see you go, but I do pray that your version of reality becomes less tenable wherever you go. This myopic selfish way of serving people is contagious. I pray it doesn’t spread wherever you go from here. If you embody what it means to be a public servant, God help us all.