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Lesson Of President Bush’s Funeral: Hope Lives

December 5, 2018

The epic sized nature of what we have witnessed over the past days, including the emotional, funny, and perfectly toned funeral for President George Herbert Walker Bush today, is just what this nation needed.  That line is not to make me sound harsh over the death of a former president, but just the opposite.  What Bush was able to do in death is pretty much what he strove to attain in his decades of public service.   Bring people to a meeting of the minds–find the central spot of our commonalities.

The nation since 2016 is fractured, deeply divided, and sorely in need of a bridge.  But bridge-makers are in short supply.  The past few days has demonstrated that the core goodness of the nation has not disappeared, but just in want of someone who still stand up and lead the way to rational thinking and civility.

Over and over during the national dialogue about Bush we have heard of honor, decency,  marital fidelity, humility, and public service.  Bush represented those touchstones of our national identity.  What all recognized as we read the thousands of words in the obituaries found in the national newspapers, or listened to the former staffers during the White House years was the nostalgic yearning for what has been lost.

The crude, loud, chaotic, self-congratulatory, money grabbing, bombastic meanness that permeates almost every day of this current presidential term is what has shaken so many citizens across the land.  The vast majority of them are old enough to know the political waters were never calm in the nation, but the role of a captain is not to make even more people seasick.   What has happened to our political culture, institutions, and general conversations about politics has been tipped over and then stomped on.  Repeatably.

That is why the death of Bush, while sad for the country and especially for his family, also had a tinge of light associated with it.  The light was what the nation calls hope.

All that was required during the funeral was to talk about Bush in terms of leadership, global respect, being informed, rational, level-headed, and self deprecating so to make the point the nation needed to hear.  The virtues we want in our leaders are the same ones that have shined in men from Washington, to FDR, to Ford, Bush, and on to Obama.

But when those foundations are missing–as they are presently–some fear we will never see them again.  The death of Bush underscores what we treasure most–and miss most in our national story.  We want to be proud of our national leader and move our country forward.  I suspect what has transpired over the past days is far more than the loss of a former president.  I believe that hope was born again in the land about what standards we want in the Oval Office.

We saw what it looked like in the rear view mirror.

I think the nation will head in that direction again.

2 Comments
  1. December 6, 2018 4:36 PM

    Really?

  2. smokey3 permalink
    December 6, 2018 3:05 PM

    “The crude, loud, chaotic, self-congratulatory, money grabbing, bombastic meanness that permeates almost every day of this current presidential term is what has shaken so many citizens across the land.”

    Sadly, you have perpetrated this meanness in your blogs. Pitiful.

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