Suggested Readings: Two Presidents at a Funeral

July 14, 2016

At times, it seems like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. 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 is …  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.  – Former President George W. Bush, July 12, 2016

On July 12, 2016, President Obama and former President Bush both spoke at the memorial service for the victims of the police shooting  in Dallas, Texas.  You can read President Obama’s speech here and President Bush’s full comments here.

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