Former U.S. President George Bush has urged Americans to "examine our tragic failures," amid the mass protests instigated by the death of George Floyd. Taking to Instagram on Tuesday, Bush and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, shared a joint statement on what is happening across the nation currently, asserting the significance of seeing through the "eyes of the threatened, oppressed and disenfranchised" amid protests.
Bush explained that they "have have resisted the urge to speak out," because they believe it is time "to listen" and not "time for us to lecture." He added that they believe"it is time for America to examine our tragic failures," but to "also see some of our redeeming strengths" as well. Bush went on to comment on the "shocking failure" of the U.S. government's treatment of the black community, and explained that he understands how it has resulted in widespread protests. "It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future," he wrote. Bush added that both "this tragedy" and "a long series of similar tragedies" is cause to raise "a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society?"
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The former Commander-in-Chief stated that "the only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving." He then turned his ire toward "those who set out to silence those voices" by saying that those individuals and groups "do not understand the meaning of America, or how it becomes a better place." Bush continued, "America's greatest challenge has long been to unite people of very different backgrounds into a single nation of justice and opportunity."
Referencing the Civil War, they then stated that they firmly believe "the doctrine and habits of racial superiority, which once nearly split our country, still threaten our Union." He went on to say that those who "doubt the justice of our country" do so "with good reason," because "black people see the repeated violation of their rights without an urgent and adequate response from American institutions." Bush then stated that, "lasting justice will only come by peaceful means," and "looting is not liberation."
He said that "destruction is not progress," but added that he and Laura "also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice." Bush eventually concluded his statement by saying, "There is a better way -- the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice. I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way."