Saying Goodbye To 41 And A Generation

It may be historically premature to judge the greatness of a whole generation, but indisputably, there are common traits that cannot be denied. It is a generation that, by and large, made no demands of homage from those who followed and prospered economically, politically, and culturally because of its sacrifices. It is a generation of towering achievement and modest demeanor, a legacy of their formative years when they were participants in and witness to sacrifices of the highest order. They know how many of the best of their generation didn’t make it to their early twenties, how many brilliant scientists, teachers, spiritual and business leaders, politicians and artists were lost in the ravages of the greatest war the world has seen.
Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation.

This is not about politics. History will determine the legacy of George H W Bush. The truth is, being President of this great country comes with the understanding that you will never please everyone. You will always have your critics. You will never walk away unscathed. There will be people who detest you for reasons they can’t possibly understand. You will make decisions that may infuriate half the country. You will be loved and fiercely hated.
The truth is, very few people know what it’s like to hold that office. The journalists, correspondents, senators, congressmen; none of them really know what it’s like. It’s a world with great power and even greater isolation.

But that’s the political side. You choose your color and walk the path your beliefs take you.

As I watched the things that were said about President Bush these last few days, I was struck by how different our landscape has changed in the last 25 years. Politics has always been a dirty game but the last 25 years has seen it taken to new levels. It has become more about “ME” than what’s best for our country, and it extends well beyond the last two years.

President Bush came from a different time. He’s the last President we had that didn’t require on the job training. His resume spoke for itself. But more than that, he came from a time when people did whatever they had to do for their country, and asked for nothing in return. He came from a time when integrity and loyalty mattered. Like all of us, he wasn’t perfect, but he gave us something we haven’t seen since he left office; a connection to our history and all the things that make this country great.

We’ve moved away from some of the qualities this office should possess.

The generation of President Bush, of my parents, of those who gave so much, is quickly coming an end. There was a time when integrity, loyalty, decency, sacrifice, patriotism, humility and kindness all meant something. We’ve lost that over the last 25 years and I’m afraid it won’t be seen again.

We buried much more than a former president today. We buried the best part of our past. A generation of selfless dignity that won’t be seen again.

 

38 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye To 41 And A Generation

  1. edgar62

    Politics in Australia are personal and dirty and not getting any better. When the Socialist Prime Minister calls the opposition Scumbags, it’s getting a bit on the off side. In the last decade we have had Seven Prime Ministers;
    John Howard served 12 years before he lost the election – fairly.
    Kevin Rudd – Knifed after 2.5 years
    Julia Gillard –

    Liked by 1 person

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      1. edgar62

        Sorry George my computer was playing up and I never was able to finish what I was writing so after the second attempt I gave up –
        Howard ; Rudd : Gillard : Rudd (again) Abbott ; Turnbull ; Morrison (current) The first and the last are the only two that were not back-stabbed out of office – by their own parties I might add.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. edgar62

    Politics in Australia are personal and dirty and not getting any better. When the Socialist Prime Minister calls the opposition Scumbags, it’s getting a bit on the off side. In the last decade we have had Seven Prime Ministers;
    John Howard served 12 years before he lost the election – fairly.
    Kevin Rudd – Knifed after 2.5 years
    Julia Gillard –

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. George Post author

      I couldn’t agree more, Dale. I enjoyed the eulogy that former Canadian PM Mulroney gave at his funeral. Being a gentleman does seem to be in short supply these days.
      BTW…love the new haircut..:)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Almost Iowa

    My favorite political story speaks volumes about that generation.

    During the 1980’s nuclear holocaust scare (it was a big deal at the time), I attended a community meeting hosted by Congressman Martin Sabo in Minneapolis. He gave a short talk then opened the meeting up for questions.

    One woman got up and immediately began sobbing. She was so over-wrought with fear of nuclear destruction that she couldn’t get her words out. The crowd’s response was impatience and little disgust at the woman not being able to control herself over the issue.

    Congressman Sabo took the mic and said, “Let’s take a break. Get refreshments or have a cigarette and we will resume in 10 minutes.”

    He then sat with the woman and comforted her until she could regain her composure. Obviously, the woman had a few issues, but Sabo didn’t let that bother him. He saw someone who needed comforting and did it.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. oldmainer

    An excellent piece George. They say history repeats itself and, as such, we must be experiencing the Lincoln years. So as an optimist, I hope that time will move beyond the current environment. I just hope I live to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. George Post author

      I so hope you are right. I’m torn between thinking that history repeats itself, learning from our mistakes and the Roman Empire. I hope we both live to see it🙂

      Like

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  5. roughwighting

    Excellent points here, George, which make me reflect two ways. (1) A great way to judge a person/president long-term is to see how much his or her family loves them (or doesn’t, the other way around). George H.W.’s family’s memories of this great humble honorable man as a father/son/husband/grandfather/friend elevate him into greatness. (2) The way our country honored George H.W. this past week gives me a sliver of hope that US citizens long for his kind of leadership, moral courage, kindness, and gravitas. Maybe, just maybe, we all will demand this in the near future.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. George Post author

      I hope you’re right, Pam. You’re so right about how we judge people and I do hope we insist on this type of leadership in the future. I just hope future generations can appreciate all that we lost and understand how important integrity is to all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. Betty

    I watched most all of the TV coverage and was so moved by all the little things said about George H W, he was a true family man and was loved by so many people. I wish what we as a “country” could get back just a little of what we had back then both in politics and in how we care for each other. Love what you wrote George..

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Book Club Mom

    This is a great post. George H W Bush is of my parents’ generation and its era is coming to an end, as you say. Your comment about how very few people know what it’s like to be president is an important one. I like seeing all the former living presidents together because, once out of office, they are more likely to understand each other. The climate here just has to improve and I think it will, especially when people are reminded of what has passed.

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. Ann Coleman

    There was so much emotion at President Bush’s funeral, and I don’t think it was just grief at his passing (although that was very real for his friends and family). I think it was also, as you so eloquently pointed out, grief for the loss of what he stood for. He was the last true gentleman we had as a president, and he was more interested in serving that in getting the glory that comes from the office. As I watched the service, I couldn’t help but wish that we could show as much respect in the elections as we do in funerals. Woudln’t it be great if political opponents could just say, “He/she is a decent person, but I think the way they want to lead is wrong, and I believe that my ideas are better.” Instead, we get horrible personal attacks, with all of us joining in, according to our party, and everyone checking our ethics and human decency at the door.
    I’m no fan of Trump, but I don’t blame him for how divided our country is now. I think how divided our country is now is exactly how we ended up with Trump as president. If we want someone with personal integrity again, then we need to clean our act first…..

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. George Post author

      You’re exactly right, Ann. It would be great if we could discuss our differences in a positive and respectful manner.
      Like you, I’m not a big fan of Trump. He’s his own worst enemy but the attacks are pretty vicious…both ways.

      Liked by 1 person

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