by Countable | 10.19.17
Former President George W. Bush gave a speech before his Presidential Institute today. Though he didn't mention President Donald Trump by name, some media outlets are calling his words a "scathing rebuke" of the current administration, both its tone and its social and economic policies. Here are key excerpts from Bush's speech.
We are gathered in the cause of liberty. This is a unique moment. The great democracies face new and serious threats — yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.
Since World War II, America has encouraged and benefited from the global advance of free markets, from the strength of democratic alliances, and from the advance of free societies. At one level, this has been a raw calculation of interest. The 20th century featured some of the worst horrors of history because dictators committed them. Free nations are less likely to threaten and fight each other.
And free trade helped make America into a global economic power.
For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.
America is not immune from these trends. In recent decades, public confidence in our institutions has declined. Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs. The American dream of upward mobility seems out of reach for some who feel left behind in a changing economy. Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts. Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.
There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself has waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning. Some have called this “democratic deconsolidation.” Really, it seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers and forgetfulness.
We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions — forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.
We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism — forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade — forgetting that conflict, instability and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.
We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments — forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge.
In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values.
America is experiencing the sustained attempt by a hostile power to feed and exploit our country’s divisions. According to our intelligence services, the Russian government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. This effort is broad, systematic and stealthy, it’s conducted across a range of social media platforms. Ultimately, this assault won’t succeed. But foreign aggressions — including cyberattacks, disinformation and financial influence — should not be downplayed or tolerated. This is a clear case where the strength of our democracy begins at home. We must secure our electoral infrastructure and protect our electoral system from subversion.
(Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives via Flickr / Public Domain
Written by Countable
I support this speech and am relieved to hear a republican President George Bush who will stand up for Our country and say what needs to be said. We are better than the destructive thinking that seems to prevail today. We must lift all people up together to heal the soul of America.
I think we should all find a way to raise the level of discourse, including the way that we voice our displeasure or disagreements with what’s happening in politics.
A nation divided will fall. In the name of democracy and the preservation of our sovereignty, Americans must unite. Thank you President Bush.
Please take up President Bush’s rally to right the discourse in our country. Thank you
Those who resonate with President Bush’s message are grateful for the reminder of who we are when we are united. Those who disagree may seem venomously agitated. I’ll take the high ground, I’ll chose to be grateful for civility, unity and a moment of leadership.
Thank you, President Bush!
WOW! The TRUTH from one of the worst ranked presidents in U.S. Who woulda thunk?
If you choose to be a Partisan in You politics. This speech By President George W. Bush needed to be made. I’am a liberal democrat. President Trump has taken this great country down the toilet. Personally I have a brother in law that travels all over the world on behalf of a military academy. And what he’s been hearing from individuals in the country’s he visits. Is how did that happen in the happen in the United States. Your President is embarrassing your country. Some of the decisions your President has made is he’s insane he’s dangerous. All you can say is I agree.
Bush has missed the mark again. Unfortunately he still doesn’t understand the working class that have to carry the financial burden of his and other past administrations blunders on their back. This reminds me of my High School days where if you were an individual minded person you probably weren’t in a click like the Jocks or Goths etc... Today’s reality TV robs our youth of formulating their own unbiased opinion of the world and how they fit in. The Washington crowd is the elitist click that wants to stay being the most popular group and will pounce on and try and destroy the people looking to change the norm and shatter their fragile world. Change is how everything in the world usually improves. Why didn’t Bush talk about why he wimped out on resolving the NK issues during his administration? Such hypocrites.
Who would of thought I’d ever be on board with GWB. He deserves a pat on the back.
Eloquent words. Exactly how a president should behave. Can we stop being such weasels and get behind his message?
I see/read much disregard for the peoples choice in electing President Trump. You seem to be embittered because your lame milk-toast brother failed in his candidacy. You never spoke against the "Liar & Fraud in Chief BO" and yet you criticize the people's choice. Sounds like you have /experiencing/expressing some sour grapes. We that voted for President Trump are proud we have a man in office that puts America first. It's time for you to do that too and support our legally/willfully elected President.
I have a new respect for President Bush for coming out and slamming the Liar in Chief for causing the divisiveness in this country. It's too bad that our lawmakers haven't done the same, with the exception of Sen. McCain. It's time to get rid of all the old, useless men in office, in particular Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, to name a few.
Where was President Bush when the last administration did everything it could to weaken this nation. He just didn’t seem to interested. Maybe he’s just upset that his brother faired so poorly against President Trump
I was not a fan of his. I am now. He said it so well. I want to thank him for speaking out and would encourage him to do more.
How refreshing to hear political discourse that doesn’t sound like a reality tv show script.
Bush is setting the standard and goals for all of our politicians. The question is when will they follow the lead, and when wil they pressure the others to change their ways or change their occupations.
I would only add that Russian interference in our elections found fertile ground in a field tilled by the right for decades. For years, the right has demonized the left as ‘feminazis’ and ‘libitards’. Are we really surprised that the right and left detest each other? We haven’t been a country for a long time, just a collection of interests attempting to maximize the rents we can extract from the nation state. All November 8, 2016 did was put an exclamation point on it. RIP, America.
What Bush said is just common sense- 1. Keep America’s world’s standing 2. Protect our civil society. we can’t be divided or we’ll fall. Being racist & nationalistic is bad & that type of thinking destroys countries & starts wars. If you’re taking his words personally... I don’t even know what to say. As for why he didn’t say anything against Obama? That should prove it’s not personal & it’s not about party.... maybe sit up & listen.