Today in the Washington Post former President Bill Clinton writes about the letter that his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, left for him on the day he assumed the presidency. You can read about that here.
But what struck me the most in Clinton's eulogy piece was this comment, which I believe touches on the divisiveness that sadly besets our country today:
"Given what politics looks like in America and around the world today, it’s easy to sigh and say George H.W. Bush belonged to an era that is gone and never coming back — where our opponents are not our enemies, where we are open to different ideas and changing our minds, where facts matter and where our devotion to our children’s future leads to honest compromise and shared progress," Clinton wrote.
"I know what he would say: “Nonsense. It’s your duty to get that America back.”
To me, that is the challenge of all responsible political leaders today -- of both parties.
One day, sooner or later, the Donald Trump presidency will come to an end. It is up to us -- every voter -- to do the best we can in the meantime. We know that our country is more divided than ever before. But somehow, we must find a way to reach across the divide and listen, understand, yes even embrace those with whom we disagree.
Think back to those days when the steady hand of George H.W. Bush was at the helm. Yes, Republicans and Democrats disagreed, but with his leadership, the goal was to best serve America, not ourselves. That has been lost today and it needs to be regained.
We need to hold our political representatives accountable. Tell them to stop focusing on their own, or their own party's, self interest and to concentrate on the good of the people they have been elected to represent. Yes, there are philosophical differences about what that means. But if the ultimate goal is to best serve America, those differences can be overcome.
As Bill Clinton suggested President George H.W. Bush would have said to those who say it can't be done, "Nonsense. It's your duty to get that America back."