Former President, George W. Bush, took to social media over the weekend with a message to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a challenging and solemn time in the life of our nation and world,” the 43rd president began, his recognizable Texas accent narrating a clip of everyday moments that have been affected by the coronavirus.
In the moving three-minute video, Bush, who generally avoids speaking out on current events, called for an end to partisanship in the nation’s continued battle against the coronavirus, urging Americans to “remember how small our differences are” in a time of crisis. His tone, a stark contrast to many that we’ve been hearing, as it was full of endearment, empathy, and solidarity.
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“A remorseless invisible enemy threatens the elderly and vulnerable among us,” the voiceover continues. “A disease that can quickly take breath in life. Medical professionals are risking their own health for the health of others and we’re deeply grateful. Officials at every level are setting up the requirements of public health that protect us all. And we all need to do our part.”
The message was part of a series of videos aired online as part of a 24-hour live-streamed project, “The Call to Unite,” which is calling on Americans to donate and volunteer with community organizations across the world affected by coronavirus.
In the United States alone, more than 68,000 people have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic just seven weeks ago, with more than 1.2 million confirmed cases on U.S. soil.
“The disease also threatens broader damage: harm to our sense of safety, security, and community,” he said. “The larger challenge we share is to confront an outbreak of fear and loneliness. And it is frustrating that many of the normal tools of compassion–a hug, a touch–can bring the opposite of the good we intend.
“In this case, we serve our neighbor by separating from them. We cannot allow physical separation to become emotional isolation. This requires us to be not only compassionate but creative in our outreach. And people across the nation are using the tools of technology in the cause of solidarity.
“Let us remember, we have faced times of testing before,” the former president said, recalling the sense of national solidarity that he witnessed in wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
“Following 9/11, I saw a great nation rise as one to honor the brave, to grieve with the grieving, and to embrace unavoidable new duties,” he said. “And I have no doubt, none at all, that this spirit of service and sacrifice is alive and well in America.”
Bush called for compassion saying, “let us remember that empathy and simple kindness are essential, powerful tools of national recovery. 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.”
He noted that the re-building of our nation following COVID-19 will disproportionately affect society — both in health, and in the workforce.
“Let’s remember that the suffer we experience as a nation does not fall evenly,” he continued. “In the days to come, it will be especially important to care in practical ways for the elderly, the ill, and the unemployed.”
More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment since COVID-19 first ravaged the United States in mid-march.
“Finally, 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 and we are determined to rise.”
Bush’s call for unity was met with criticism by President Trump, who called out the former commander-in-chief for his absence during the impeachment trial earlier this year.
.@PeteHegseth “Oh bye the way, I appreciate the message from former President Bush, but where was he during Impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside.” @foxandfriends He was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2020