December has traditionally been a month of rest for The Texas Pilgrim, but I could not let the momentous significance of last week’s tribute to President George H. W. Bush pass without comment. It has been suggested that the pomp and circumstance of the events in Washington, Houston, and College Station would not have been welcomed by the President and that he might even have been embarrassed by much of the praise heaped upon him for the life that he lived, which in his view was nothing more than what was expected of him in the spirit of noblesse oblige. I expect that might have been so.
But I have a different view. America badly needed what we experienced last week–a time of celebration of and thanks for the life of an American hero; a time of reflection on the qualities reflective of what a man should be, particularly those who aspire to leadership; a time for reverence for those values that help inform what defines American exceptionalism—faith, family, duty, country; and an extended time for renewal and open advancement of these ideas in the public square. In fact, I thought as I watched these events that there was an almost providential timing of them when the body politic seemed to need these reflections and this renewal more than ever.
There will be plenty of time to discuss his record as President, this and that decision, foreign and domestic policy, pro and con, victories and failures, and for me there is some of all of it to revisit in the coming months. My first take on it is that on balance he will be very well treated by history primarily for the way he handled the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the reunification of Germany, and I believe he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. But right now, let’s simply hope that we have all learned something from this past week about decency and civility and have reminded ourselves of what duty looks like in a real patriot. God speed, George Herbert Walker Bush.