George W. Bush: Those silencing protesters ‘do not understand the meaning of America’

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Former President George W. Bush broke his silence on the death of George Floyd and the protests that have transpired, calling on the country “to examine our tragic failures.”

“It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country. It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving,” Bush said in a statement Tuesday.

“Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place,” he said.

Bush said he and his wife, Laura, have “resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen.”

Bush also urged protesters to remain peaceful. Protests across the country have largely been peaceful, but some have escalated into violence and involved the looting of businesses.

“We know that lasting justice will only come by peaceful means. Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress,” he said. “But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system.”