Archibald: In Memoriam Barbara Bush

By Mark Archibald

Dignified, graceful and strong are a few words which described former First Lady, Barbara Bush. She was laid to rest last Saturday, though her influence on American politics will be felt for generations.

The wife of a President, she was also the mother of six including Florida Governor, Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush. Mrs. Bush helped to shape the people who lead our country. Barbara and President George H. W. Bush remained respected Republican Party elders.

Along with Nancy Reagan they helped shepherd Republican Presidential candidates through the political gauntlet for over a generation.

Barbara Bush hailed from a different political era where civility and decency were the norm, not a noteworthy exception.

The Republican Party is now in a struggle for its soul, if the chest thumping nonsense continues the country and party risks losing part of its identity.

Each hashtag Donald Trump posts is proof of how far we are from Mrs. Bush’s example of quiet dignity, and restraint.

Qualities which were on display when she was asked about Donald Trump in a CNN interview during the 2016 campaign. Speaking about then candidate Trump, “He doesn’t give many answers to how he would solve problems, Mrs. Bush said. “He sort of makes faces and says insulting things”

Mrs. Bush was by all accounts content to be a wife and mother, but mistaking her gentle nature and simple appearance, for anything other than quiet strength was a grave miscalculation.

I wish our country could return to the quaint notion that substance matters more than sound bites and infantile name calling.

The former First Lady then lowered the boom, asked again what she thought of Donald Trump, “I don’t think about him at all, I think about Jeb and the qualified candidates.”

I’m a Yankee, but I believe that is the best Bless your heart response I’ve heard from an adopted Texan.

Barbara Bush and her husband exchanged letters of love, not texts, tweets, or snapchat messages.

Like Nancy Reagan, Mrs. Bush was savvy and fiercely protective of her husband and children. She was happiest in that role, but would wield power from behind the scenes or to jumpstart causes in which she believed. Including literacy, and heightening awareness to the ravages of AIDS, something her predecessor in the White House was unable to accomplish.

According to some her accomplishments didn’t rise to the level of future First Lady’s such as Hillary Clinton, but it’s unfair to hold preceding generations to today’s standards.

The role of women in the work place has evolved Mrs. Bush seemed content to bring about change her way I’m sure there was a call for her to do more but she relished the part she played and those lives she touched.

At 92, Mrs. Bush had an extraordinary life, a love, and family. Some say she was the brains of the outfit. No, she was far more, especially to her husband her family and a grateful nation.

May God bless you ma’am.

 

Mark Archibald is a columnist for the Corsicana Daily Sun in Corsicana Texas

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