Maybe a dead man can breathe life into a suffocating nation.
Granted, this commentary is being fueled more by optimism than wisdom, but if expressions of hope, charity and goodwill have no place at this time of year, when will they ever?
Today, our current president and former presidents will gather to pay their respects to George H.W. Bush. The ghost of acrimony past will vanish — or so we dare hope.
President Trump set the stage for positive thinking in a statement last weekend in Argentina.
“We’ll be spending three days of mourning and three days of celebrating a really great man’s life,” he said. “So we look forward to doing that, and he certainly deserves it. He really does. He was a very special person.”
Those words contrast with other statements he’s made about the Bush family, but we will take them at face value and hope they’re a catapult for better days ahead for our nation. And as he watched his last days slipping away, the 94-year-old Bush reportedly wanted that, as well.
According to a former Bush aide interviewed by Politico, “If anybody at any time knew anything about the 41st president of the United States, they would completely and totally understand that he would welcome the current occupant 100 percent. This is the way the country says goodbye to presidents.”
But in death just as in life, there’s a sense that the senior Bush wanted more than a respectful goodbye from the current office occupant. It would be in No. 41’s graceful nature to use the occasion of his last public appearance as a first step toward healing wounds.
And yes, we’re talking about much more than the bad feelings that may exist between two presidential families.