When George Herbert Walker Bush ran for office, one of his early tag lines was, “A President We Won’t Have To Train.”
He had already been a war hero, a Congressman, the director of the CIA, chief liaison with China, head of the Republican National Convention, Ambassador to the United Nations, and Vice President under Ronald Reagan.
Once he became President, he faced many issues. Although Reagan was famous for telling them to take down the Berlin wall, Bush resided over its removal and East and West Germany coming together. He was leader during the last days of the Cold War and saw the USSR separate. He also saw pro-democracy protestors being killed in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. He was at the helm when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and then he led the US during the ensuing Gulf War.
He lived during a time when letter-writing was valued. When he lost the White House to Democrat Bill Clinton, he left a note for the incoming president in the Oval Office. Part of it said, “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.”
An outgoing Republican welcoming an incoming Democrat. Wishing him well. Rooting for him.
He knew the heartbreak of loss when his young daughter Robin died at age three of leukemia. And he was a doting husband, father and grandfather. He was also a man of character. As a gun owner and hunter he resigned his lifetime membership with the NRA when they referred to federal agents as terrorists.
It seems that people from across the globe and from both sides of the aisle are mourning the loss of a man who walked the talk both inside and outside of politics.
George H.W. Bush said, “I stand for anti-bigotry, anti-Semitism, and anti-racism.” What great things to stand for as a leader and as a man. May he rest in peace.