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.