Thursday, October 19, 2017

We Become The Heirs

Our identity as a nation -- unlike many other nations -- is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood.  Being an American involves the embrace of high ideals and civic responsibility.  We become the heirs of Thomas Jefferson by accepting the ideal of human dignity found in the Declaration of Independence.  We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the U.S. Constitution.  We become the heirs of Martin Luther King, Jr., by recognizing one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

This means that people of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed. ...

[O]ur young people need positive role models.  Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children.  The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.

-- Former president George W. Bush in a speech at the George W. Bush Institute, 19 October 2017

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