politics

The letter between George HW Bush and Bill Clinton that speaks volumes about politics today.

Since the death of former US president George H.W. Bush on Friday, November 30, several renowned politicians have left touching tributes about the late Republican.

Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump have tweeted their condolences and issued their official statements on Bush’s passing, and former president Bill Clinton has done the same.

Writing for The Washington Post, Clinton shared the letter he received from the then 68-year-old on the first day of his presidency. The Democrat had just defeated Bush in the 1993 Presidential election and keeping in line with the tradition between the incoming and outgoing President, Bush had left him a handwritten letter.

It read:

Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.

I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

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.

Good Luck — George

The letter has since gone viral, with many people noting the civility and courtesy between the two presidents of opposing sides, something that seems almost foreign in today’s loud and argumentative political environment – both internationally and in the US.

Writing about Bush’s perspective on politics, Clinton complimented the former president’s ability to work with bipartisan support, who despite being a Republican still collaborated with the Democrats over The Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 which made it illegal for employers to discriminate against disability, as well as environmental issues like the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

He also said that while he and Bush occasionally clashed in opinions, it didn’t affect their relationship.

“Even more important, though he could be tough in a political fight, he was in it for the right reasons: People always came before politics, patriotism before partisanship. To the end, we knew we would never agree on everything, and we agreed that was okay. Honest debate strengthens democracy,” he wrote.

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Although he doesn’t make a direct reference to President Trump, the comparison between the “two eras” of government is easily implied.

Not only did Trump try to discredit Obama as a natural-born US citizen – he claimed he was born in Kenya – but between the years of 2012 to 2016, he continued to imply his birth certificate was fake.

In 2016 he also accused Obama of being the “founder of ISIS” at a rally in Sunrise, Florida, and the insults and email hacking allegations he hurled at Hilary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign are well documented.

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Although Bush’s legacy as a devoted, patriotic and humble public servant (as shared by Obama) seems like the exception to today’s political rule, Clinton says it’s something we can and must fight to get back.

“It’s easy to sigh and say George H.W. Bush belonged to an era that is gone and never coming back – where our opponents are not our enemies, where we are open to different ideas and changing our minds, where facts matter and where our devotion to our children’s future leads to honest compromise and shared progress,” he wrote.

“I know what he would say: “Nonsense. It’s your duty to get that America back.”

What did you think of Bill Clinton’s tribute to the late President? Tell us in a comment below.

Let’s take a moment to celebrate dads we love… Obama style.

Video by MMC

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