Former President George W. Bush gave a speech about rejecting white supremacy and bigotry, on Thursday. He claims that “bigotry seems emboldened” in our country and urges Americans to reject white supremacy.
He said, “Discontent deepened and sharpened partisan conflicts,” Bush continued, “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”
It is actually somewhat surprising to hear him speak out, considering the fact that he has stayed out of the spotlight since his term ended in 2009.
Bush also said that public confidence in the country’s institutions has declined in recent decades, and warned against “a new era of cyber threats” including Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.
“Ultimately this assault won’t succeed, but foreign aggressions including cyber attacks, disinformation, and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated,” he said.
The remarks by Bush represent a rare entry into the public debate by the former president, whose family was criticized by Trump during an election cycle where he defeated former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the GOP nomination.
Fears about a rise in bigotry across the country have increased over the last year, making a crescendo with protests in Charlottesville, Va., in August between white supremacist groups and counter-protestors. One woman was killed when a man drove a car into a crowd of counter-protestors.
Bush continued, “Bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”
When Bush spokesman Freddy Ford was questioned as to whether this was a criticism of President Trump, he said that it was not. “This was a long-planned speech on liberty and democracy as a part of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative,” Ford continued, “The themes President Bush spoke about today are really the same themes he has spoken about for the last two decades.”
During his speech, Bush also warned that democracies face “new and serious threats” today.
Economic, political and national security challenges “proliferate,” he said.
“And they’re made worse by the tendency to turn inward,” he said. “The health of the Democratic spirit itself is at issue and the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.”
Bush said that the intensity of support for democracy itself has “waned.”
He continued, “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.”
Bush added, “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.”
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