George W. Bush Asks Americans To 'Recover Our Own Identity' In A Speech Condemning Bigotry

"Bigotry and White supremacy, in any form, is blasphemy against the American creed."

On Thursday morning, former President George W. Bush delivered a powerful speech condemning bigotry and urging the country to "recall and recover our own identity" at a divisive time in politics.

The remarks were made as part of the George W. Bush Institute's "Spirit of Liberty" forum in New York, which also featured discussions from such past and present political figures as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Bush said that "bigotry seems emboldened" at the current time, adding, "We've seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times it could seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together ... Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions, forgetting the image of God we should see in each other."

The former president warned against "nationalism distorted into nativism," and went on to refer to "the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America."

"Our identity as a nation, unlike other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood," Bush stressed, alluding to the "blood and soil" rallying cry used by White nationalists at Charlottesville earlier this year and similarly rebuked earlier this week by Sen. John McCain. "This means that people from every race, religion, ethnicity can be full and equally American. It means that bigotry and White supremacy, in any form, is blasphemy against the American creed."

These remarks earned applause from the audience. The speech was also praised by many on social media.

Bush later touched on the need for young people to have "positive role models," adding, "Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them."

It's not the first time we've heard Bush speak out in recent months. Following the events in Charlottesville in August, he and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, released a joint statement saying, "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms."

In March, the younger Bush, who left his ballot for president blank last November, shared his belief that a free press is "indispensable to democracy," in order "to call to account people who abuse their power." More recently, he and his fellow former presidents have been raising money for hurricane relief. All five of them will appear at a sold-out benefit concert this weekend at Texas A&M University.

Watch President Bush's remarks in the video below:

Cover image via Instagram

(H/T: CNN)

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