The proposed George W. Bush Presidential Library, if built at SMU, is controversial. First, the land will be acquired by eminent domain, displacing homeowners in the University Gardens condo complex. Second, building costs are estimated at $2-300 million.....a lot of moolah for a library that wouldn't be housing any real books......
According to the New York Times, at a meeting on Jan 16, "close to 150 faculty members raised concerns about the project and formulated what became 35 questions for the university president, R. Gerald Turner, on the relationship between the university and the Bush library and policy center. The questions included, "How would the institute affect the intellectual integrity of SMU?"
The Library is actually proposed as a complex of three parts. First is the library itself which would hold all the presidential papers. The second is the museum, which would present Bush and his administration in its best light. The third part would be the Bush Institute, a "think tank" where scholars would write articles supportive of the Bush administration. Help!
There are a number of presidential libraries dedicated to men whose politics and practices disturb me and some to men who I admire, but most disturbing is this latest vision of "library" as temple to historic revisionism, even as we are in the middle of it.