Our Better Nature

By now, you’ve seen either the video or the picture of Bob Dole standing up from his wheelchair to give President George H.W. Bush one final salute. If the scene doesn’t stir something inside you, I suspect nothing will. I realized that those are the first two people that I didn’t vote for in terms of a presidential election, as I voted for the first time as an eighteen-year-old in 1992.  It was a moment of deep humanity born out of a deep respect for and genuine love of another person.

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I worry about us. We seem to be moving closer to a point of no return in our life together when it comes to respect and love for those with different views. Some might say it’s just politicians, but let’s remember that politicians wouldn’t act the way they do if it wasn’t effective with the public. This type of behavior has become the status quo and we are comfortable with the status quo. To act differently is to change and our actions suggest we don’t want to change.

It’s ironic that it takes a death for us to remember what it means to be human. Over the last few days, we’ve seen wide glimpses of our better nature. We’ve come together to celebrate a life well lived. A life dedicated to service. Was President Bush perfect? Of course not, as none of us are. He was a dedicated, humble person who served his family, country, and the world at large well. Even in his death, he has managed to give us a gift in seeing our better nature.

Today, I’m less worried about us. I believe more fully that the light outshines the darkness.

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