These days people talk a lot about the divided state of the United States. They like to point fingers. The left points to Trump and those who support him. The right points to “the radical left”. I would argue both sides are wrong. I believe it takes two to tango.
Is President Trump less civil in the way he speaks compared with the past presidents in my lifetime? Absolutely. But Nancy Pelosi ripped his State of the Union speech in half on National TV and just yesterday referred to Republicans as “domestic enemies“. These are not what I would call civil actions. Again, it takes two to tango.
I am writing about this today because this morning I came across a letter that George H. W. Bush (a Republican) left for Bill Clinton (a Democrat) when handing over The Oval Office after losing to him in the 1992 election. That letter (pictured below) reads as follows:
Jan 20, 1993
When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.
I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.
There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.
You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.
Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.
Good Luck —
There is no easy answer to solve the apparent divisions which may be new and/or newly surfaced in our country. If there is an answer, I do not believe it will be brought on by a return to the past. I do not believe in going back. I believe in moving forward. Unlike many, I believe we are moving forward. As both a nation and a world, I believe things are getting better. It is just not happening as quickly as many would like, nor according to the priorities that many would prefer.
While I am not an advocate for returning to the past, I am a believer in learning from it. I believe this letter from our 41st President to our 42nd offers lessons in civility, sincerity, and respect that could help bring our nation together and further forward if more people were to learn from and live by them. I hope that in future elections I will be fortunate enough to vote for a candidate whom I believe demonstrates these traits, and then some.