Former President George W. Bush weighed in Monday on the riots that have torn across the United States, saying that “lasting justice will only come by peace.”
Bush spoke out following the seventh night of destructive riots following the demise of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, according to footage of the incident.
“Laura and I are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country,” the former president said.
“Yet we have resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen. It is time for America to examine our tragic failures—and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths.”
He continued: “It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country. It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future.”
The death of Floyd raises questions about how we can end systemic racism in society, Bush emphasized, adding that the only way to do so is to “listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving.”
“We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means,” Bush said. “Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress.”
“But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice,” he added. “The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all.”
He continued: “This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort. We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience. We love our neighbors as ourselves when we treat them as equals, in both protection and compassion.”
“There is a better way—the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice,” the former president concluded. “I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way.”
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