Former President George H. W. Bush was a man who believed in duty to his country. He may have not always stood on the right side of history, but he always stood for on the right side of America.
Mr. Bush had his eyes on the Oval Office longer before he got there. When President Gerald R. Ford asked him to lead the CIA in 1975 Bush accepted the position out of a sense of duty. He went on to become known as the agency’s best director and did much to raise morale at a time when it was sorely needed.
When he ran against Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination for president and lost, he graciously accepted a post as vice president to help keep from dividing the party. Reagan and Bush went on to win the next two elections by a landslides, and finally it was his turn for a chance at the Oval Office.
In 1988 Bush was chosen as his party’s nominee for the Office of the President, and he went on to win, and while he did not win a second term, it may surprise many what he represented while in the White House. Bush fought for a better environment and hand picked the finest environmentalists to lead in his efforts. He vowed to improve the Clean Air Act, and he did so. As most Republicans then and now, he supported the Second Amendment, but he also stood his ground with the NRA and withdrew his life membership after Wayne LaPierre made disparaging comments about some of the men in law enforcement as “Jackbooted thugs.”
In a letter to the NRA Bush wrote that LaPierre’s comments were out of line.
“It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us.”
The NRA declined to endorse Bush in his re-election campaign, but he knew that was coming and stood up to them anyway.
Bush also believed that differences of opinion did not make and enemy of someone. President William J. Clinton defeated Bush in his re-election bid, and they had many differences of opinion. Yet, despite their differences, they later became close friends. After Bush died Clinton wrote:
I am profoundly grateful for every minute I spent with President Bush and will always hold our friendship as one of my life’s greatest gifts.
Gen. Colin Powell, who served as Bush’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Bush cared about every single person he sent into war, and he didn’t believe in nasty politics. Bush believed that just
“because you run against each other, that doesn’t mean you’re enemies. Politics doesn’t have to be uncivil and nasty.”
Powell went on to say:
“The service he gave to America will not be matched anytime soon. And the experience he brought to the office will never be matched anytime soon,” Powell said.
President George H. W. Bush lived a long a full life. He made more friends than enemies. May he rest in peace.