I’m from Texas and not ashamed of President George W. Bush nor the Dixie Chicks.
Regrettably, I never wrote the column I thought about beginning that way when I lived in Louisiana, and right-wing cancel culture mobilized to end one of the more popular acts in country music.
I believed then, as I believe now, that I could appreciate, learn from, and even love those with whom I might disagree.
Bush has expressed that same idea with words and deeds.
The enthusiastic way he embraced and enjoyed the transition to a successor from the other party demonstrated a love for this republic’s democratic processes and traditions from which all would-be patriots should learn.
Bush holds a special place for me. Not only does he live, worship, and still work in my People Newspapers markets; he, my dad, and I share a birthday; and he’s the only president I’ve met.
I wasn’t expecting to get anywhere near him when I went to Angelo State University in San Angelo to cover the signing of his first budget as governor of Texas. But he came through the same door as everyone else, and a reverse receiving line formed.
By the time he was shaking my hand, I had a snarky question prepared. “Hey, I noticed the Texas Rangers started winning when you moved to Austin. Is that just a coincidence?”
His shoulders bounced as he laughed, leaned in, and said, “I was hoping nobody would notice that. But, yeah, they’re doing great!”
Bush, a good sport, likes to laugh, even at himself.
He also likes to pray. The nation’s 43rd president offered prayers for success and a pledge to “help in any way I can” to each of those who have come after him.
Though Bush insists he’s retired from presidential politics, he’s obviously not retired from acting presidential. Here’s what an American patriot sounds like:
The challenges that face our country will demand the best of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris – and the best of us all. We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future. There is no problem that will not yield to the gathered will of a free people. Laura and I pray for our leaders and their families. We ask for God’s continued blessings on our country. And we urge all Americans to join us in wishing our next President and Vice President well as they prepare to take up their important duties.
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