Following the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, the nonpartisan National Institute for Civil Discourse released the following statements from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, and Executive Director Carolyn Lukensmeyer. President George H.W. Bush served as Honorary Chair of the National Institute for Civil Discourse since its founding in the wake of the tragic 2011 shooting in Tucson. Statements are below:
“I was so personally moved that former President George H.W. Bush agreed to serve as Honorary Chair of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. His name and service signaled the kind of respectful civic engagement that the institute was founded to foster,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whose “Congress on Your Corner” event in Tucson was targeted in a shooting in 2011. Giffords pledged that NICD would honor President Bush’s legacy: “We will be, like he was, untiring in our commitment to civility.”
“Whenever people think about what it means to give back to one’s country and make contributions that will be remembered and appreciated for generations, they will recall the name of President George H.W. Bush,” said former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, an NICD Advisory Board member, in her statement with former Maine Governor John McKernan.
“We should all give thanks for President George H.W. Bush’s long, good life and honor it by searching, as he always, did, for the most American way forward for reviving civility,” said Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. “
In a remembrance piece in the Washington Post, President Bill Clinton observed that President Bush’s life contained a message for the responsibility we each have amidst our current partisan challenges:
“Given what politics look like in America and around the world today, it’s easy to sigh and say that George H.W. Bush belonged to an era that is gone and never coming back—where our opponents are not our enemies, where we are open to different ideas and changing our minds, where facts matter and where our devotion to our children’s future leads to honest compromise and shared progress. I know what he would say: ‘Nonsense. It’s your duty to get that America back.’” – former President Bill Clinton, who served with President Bush as NICD’s Honorary Chair
Lukensmeyer invited all Americans to pay tribute to President Bush by embracing our shared responsibility to revive civility because, as the 41st President knew, the American system of democracy depends on it.
About the National Institute for Civil Discourse:
The National Institute for Civil Discourse, is a non-profit, non-partisan institute based at the University of Arizona dedicated to addressing incivility and political dysfunction in American democracy by promoting structural and behavioral change. Informed by research, NICD’s programs are designed to create opportunities for elected officials, the media, and the public to engage different voices respectfully and take responsibility for the quality of our public discourse and effectiveness of our democratic institutions. Their National Advisory Board includes former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Herbert Walker Bush; former Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe; former Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin Powell; and journalists like Katie Couric, and NPR’s Scott Simon.