- The Washington Times
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Former President George W. Bush penned an essay Tuesday stressing the importance of unity during the coronavirus pandemic, writing that maintaining a free society is dependent on the “character” of its citizens.

“We were not meant to live apart from each other, especially in times of challenge,” the Republican wrote in a piece published in the George W. Bush Institute’s quarterly journal The Catalyst. “Our tools of compassion — a hug, gathering as people of faith or in friendship, caring for our family when they are ill — bring the opposite of the love we intend. Rarely in history have we served our neighbor by distancing from them.

“As Americans, this concept is frustrating and foreign to us,” he continued. “We live in a free nation, but independence from the state doesn’t mean isolation from each other. Our free society thrives when neighbors help neighbors and the strong protect the weak. The success of a nation to uphold that freedom depends on the character of its citizens.”

Mr. Bush went on to praise officials “at every level” for outlining the “requirements of public health that protect us all” and the medical professionals who risk their lives to save others.

“Each day, reminded that the suffering we experience as a nation does not fall evenly, ordinary Americans have committed extraordinary acts of kindness and compassion,” he wrote.

“Empathy and simple kindness are essential, powerful tools of national recovery,” he continued. “Even at an appropriate social distance, we can find ways to be present in the lives of others — to ease their anxiety and share their burdens. Our differences are small in the face of this shared threat. In the final analysis, we are equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. I maintain an unshakeable faith in the future of country, because I know the character of our citizens. We rise or fall together. And we are determined to rise.”

Mr. Bush’s essay comes more than two weeks after he tweeted a very similar coronavirus-related message that prompted criticism from President Trump, The Daily Caller reported.

In a May 2 video, Mr. Bush said, “Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat. In the final analysis, we are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God. We rise or fall together.”

Mr. Trump responded at the time by ripping Mr. Bush for being “nowhere to be found” during his impeachment.

“He was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!” the president tweeted.

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