Op-Ed: Squad Goals — Michelle Obama and George W. Bush model friendship beyond politics


An image of Michelle Obama from the official White House website. The First Lady’s friendship with George W. Bush has made headlines after an impromptu hug at the opening of the African American Museum of History and Culture. Image source: The White House.

In Barnes and Noble, there is always a featured book about an unlikely friendship — normally referring to a relationship between two animals that you’d never expect: a monkey and a pigeon, a leopard and a cow. 

However, as common as these books are, they never focus on human relationships. Over the last few weeks, a budding friendship has taken over the normally vicious news cycle that consists of Trump and Clinton going head to head with each other. This friendship is between First Lady Michelle Obama and former President George W. Bush.

What started this totally unforeseen bond? Is it merely a PR stunt, or did it all begin when Bush randomly burst out dancing at a somber Dallas memorial earlier this year?

Michelle Obama’s puzzled facial expression turning into a smile of embarrassment was priceless. Bush’s inappropriately-timed dance would have turned into a breakdancing solo if he had not been holding hands with his wife, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.

Last week, the former President and Obama had another interaction that went viral. An image of the first lady hugging Bush at the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture instantly took over social media — perhaps because it is refreshing to see an actual friendship in 2016 politics? 

In a day and age when Democrats and Republicans constantly debate each other and participate in name-calling and finger-pointing, it comes as a shock to see two people of different political parties who have occupied the White House actually establish a friendship.

While their affection for each other is moving, it is also highly entertaining, partially due to the fact that it is so unexpected but primarily because they both seem genuinely happy. 

Perhaps Obama is happy that she will be leaving the White House soon and Bush is so thrilled that he is not President any more, that they bond over their shared relief of no longer holding such powerful, difficult positions. I wonder if they will create a survivor network for those who have managed to live through the nightmare of being career politicians.

Who else would they invite into their elite group? Perhaps President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden, although his job definitely has its perks. He once collaborated with “Veep”s Julia Louise Dreyfus, and his Instagram account handle is simply @vp.

Maybe Senator Marco Rubio of Florida? After his failed presidential bid and being dubbed “Little Marco” by Donald Trump, he could use some companionship and support. Of course, there is always former President George H.W. Bush, as well, who has become friendly with former President Bill Clinton over the years. 

I will still continue to ponder why both Obama and Bush seemed to enjoy each other’s company so much. However, whatever the reason may be, this photo is so strange yet so wonderful, and I hope there are many more bonding moments to come.