The George W. Bush Presidential Center is joined by fellow presidential centers and foundations to reaffirm our commitment to the democratic values on which this country was founded.
As we constantly strive toward a more perfect union, it is important to recognize inherent human dignity, foster conditions for liberty, advance equality, and promote the general welfare of the United States. When united by our founding ideals, Americans should reaffirm the importance of democratic values, civic responsibility, civility, and a pluralistic society.
We hope you will join us in this effort by reading and reflecting upon the statement, sharing it with your networks, and practicing the good citizenship that our democracy requires.
David J. Kramer
Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute
A statement from 13 presidential centers
The unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, are principles that bind us together as Americans. They have enabled the United States to strive toward a more perfect union, even when we have not always lived up to those ideals.
As a diverse nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, democracy holds us together. We are a country rooted in the rule of law, where the protection of the rights of all people is paramount. At the same time, we live among our fellow citizens, underscoring the importance of compassion, tolerance, pluralism, and respect for others.
We, the undersigned, represent a wide range of views across a breadth of issues. We recognize that these views can exist peaceably side by side when rooted in the principles of democracy. Debate and disagreement are central features in a healthy democracy. Civility and respect in political discourse, whether in an election year or otherwise, are essential.
Americans have a strong interest in supporting democratic movements and respect for human rights around the world because free societies elsewhere contribute to our own security and prosperity here at home. But that interest is undermined when others see our own house in disarray. The world will not wait for us to address our problems, so we must both continue to strive toward a more perfect union and help those abroad looking for U.S. leadership.
Each of us has a role to play and responsibilities to uphold. Our elected officials must lead by example and govern effectively in ways that deliver for the American people. This, in turn, will help to restore trust in public service. The rest of us must engage in civil dialogue; respect democratic institutions and rights; uphold safe, secure, and accessible elections; and contribute to local, state, or national improvement.
By signing this statement, we reaffirm our commitment to the principles of democracy undergirding this great nation, protecting our freedom, and respecting our fellow citizens. When united by these convictions, America is stronger as a country and an inspiration for others.
George W. Bush Presidential Center
George & Barbara Bush Foundation
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
The Carter Center
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
Richard Nixon Foundation
John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
Truman Library Institute
Hoover Presidential Foundation
In the News:
- The New York Times: From Hoover to Nixon to Obama, presidential centers call to protect democracy
- The Washington Post: Presidential centers issue rare call to maintain civil discourse, protect democracy
- AP News: Presidential centers from Hoover to Bush and Obama unite to warn of fragile state of US democracy
- The Hill: 13 presidential centers unify in call for civility, protection of democracy
- Houston Chronicle: Enough with the disrespect. Be Civil
- The Dallas Morning News: Americans who see bipartisanship as weak must find ways to come together