The Republicans are gearing up for their convention next week. The GOP platform is being finalized with no surprises in it. They are against abortion, birth control, LGBT rights, and even colleges having a right to throw out students accused of raping someone on campus.
The Dictator-in-Waiting is gearing up to move from being the George Wallace of this campaign to the new Richard Nixon, declaring himself the “law-and-order” candidate. I guess that is one way to justify your racist, bigoted views of the world.
But, yesterday there was a memorial service in Dallas for the 5 Police Officers killed last week. The press is all agog about President Obama’s speech. He was eloquent and honest. He gave enough fodder for the pundits on both sides to criticize him because he did not staunchly defend either side. He looked for a more uniform approach to the problems we face.
You can make up your own mind about his speech. I personally loved it. But there was another speaker that isn’t getting the coverage it desires. And it was outstanding. Some of you may think I am going insane, but George W. Bush gave a tremendous speech yesterday and no one even noticed.
W. had some real problems when he was President. His biggest domestic mistake was his handling of the aftermath of Katrina. That incident gave the impression that he didn’t care. I never liked W. or his policies. But, I never really considered him in the racist vain that I see Trump. Yesterday, though not as eloquent and fluid as President Obama, W. gave an outstanding speech that hit at the problems we face.
The speech was short. It was complete. And, it attacked the current Republican candidate without naming him. In case you missed it here is part of it:
Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into dehumanization. Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”
And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose.
But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values. We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit ― by shared commitments to common ideals.
At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions. And it is not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens, and finding our better selves in the process.
At our best, we honor the image of God we see in one another. We recognize that we are brothers and sisters, sharing the same brief moment on earth, and owing each other the loyalty of our shared humanity.
At our best, we know we have one country, one future, one destiny. We do not want the unity of grief. Nor do we want the unity of fear. We want the unity of hope, affection, and high purpose.
As I said, there are a lot of things about W.’s presidency that I hate. The lies he told to get us into war in Iraq. His handling of Katrina. But, this speech was outstanding. In the seven minutes or so he actually spoke, he trampled on the current Republicans who want to drag this country into a non-democracy.
He trampled on the dreams of people like Donald Trump who want to make our country one of division, hatred, and even internment camps if that is what they decide is needed. The best part of this speech is that it is not just about race. It is about all of the injustices that many minority groups face everyday in this country.
It can be used to address many inequities. It addresses race relations, immigration relations, religious relations, and yes, LGBT relations. After all, that is what all of this is about. Civil Rights is about all Americans living free from discrimination of all kinds.
Several months ago I asked where all the Republicans have gone. In order to “take back” our country from the ideologues, demagogues, haters and bigots, we need more Republicans to speak like W. did yesterday.
The problem for Republicans is that too many of them who think like this won’t be at the convention next week. It is like they simply gave up.
I did not like George W. Bush as president. I hated most of his policies. I believe his economic policies directly led to the collapse in 2008. But, I will give him his due. His speech yesterday was eloquent in its own right. It was appropriate. And, it was quite clear about whom he was talking.
Great job W. Let’s hope other Republicans listened, too!