The former president spoke at an event held at the George W Bush Institute on Thursday in New York. Bush said “bigotry seems emboldened” in modern America, along with a climate of discontent. He added that US politics appeared more vulnerable today to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication than in past years.
“There are some signs that the intensity of support for democracy itself is waned, especially among the young, who never experienced the galvanizing moral clarity of the Cold War, or never focused on the ruin of entire nations by socialist central planning,” Bush said.
“It seems to be a combination of weariness, frayed tempers, and forgetfulness,” Bush said was the cause of the trouble. “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples by judging ourselves by our best intentions — forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.”
He continued: “We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other. We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America. We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.”
“We have seen the return of isolationist sentiments – forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places, where threats such as terrorism, infectious disease, criminal gangs and drug trafficking tend to emerge. In all these ways, we need to recall and recover our own identity. Americans have a great advantage: To renew our country, we only need to remember our values,” he said also.