Dear Commons Community,
Former President George W. Bush said he and his wife, Laura, are “anguished” by the death of George Floyd and “disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country.”
“It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country,” Bush said in a statement. “The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.”
“It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future.”
The 43rd president said the racism that was at the root of the Civil War is again threatening the Union, and said those in American history who have fought the hardest for equality often reveal “the nation’s disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine.”
Bush called for Americans to show empathy and compassion on the path to lasting and equal justice. “There is a better way — the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice,” he said.
Bush did not mention President Donald Trump in his statement, but his words were in stark contrast to the bellicose and inflammatory rhetoric that has been used by Trump, who on Tuesday goaded governors to call up the National Guard, tweeting “The lowlifes and losers are ripping you apart.”
On Monday, Fox News analyst Juan Williams speculated that Bush could help swing the election if he endorses Joe Biden for president. Bush and Trump have criticized each other on numerous occasions, and Williams said an endorsement could sway many moderate Republicans and conservative independents who have had enough of Trump.
Last week, former President Barack Obama spoke out on the death of George Floyd, saying: “This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. . . . If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must do better.”
I was never a George W. Bush fan but his statement is important and timely!