Bush lived ‘kinder, gentler’ motto as a model for the world

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George H.W. Bush will be remembered by history as the voice of “a kinder, gentler nation,” a legacy appreciated perhaps more after his death than during his time in the White House.
The nation’s 41st president was a man of high character, according to all who knew and worked with him throughout a lifetime of public service. “Character matters,” Bush said time and again, and on that note he set the bar high.
A member of “the Greatest Generation” and a Navy war hero in his own right, 41, as he was known for his number in line to the presidency, was humble yet incredibly proud of his patriotic call to serve. Decades after he lived on Pennsylvania Avenue, Bush spoke with great reverence about the responsibilities and respect he had for the White House, as well as his opportunity to serve. He believed that the office is bigger than the man, caring less about his personal reputation than what was good for the country.
Dignified in all his dealings, Bush proved that you can be bold and effective as a leader without having to put down or outshout your adversaries. His steady hand at the helm during the end of the Cold War and later Operation Desert Storm was effective, history will say, though his bigger picture mentality cost him popular support, as well as a shot at a second term in office. He could have belittled Mikhail Gorbachev during that time of historic transition, for example, but showed restraint that ultimately impacted world politics for years to come.
When he laid out his vision for “a kinder, gentler nation” during his 1988 campaign, Bush was in fact sharing his life’s example as a model for America to follow. The words stand in stark contrast to the incivility and name-calling that has come to define today’s politics, though I believe his strong ethics and mild mannerism would work well today in Washington.
Any one of us would do well to leave such a legacy, no matter what our calling in life. Being honest and treating people with respect is a formula for success in any setting, a philosophy Bush lived by throughout his lifetime.
Job well done.
Kurt Johnson

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