On Monday, President Bush once again reminded us why his approach to bridging Americas racial divide is both principled and practical. He decided to speak before the Urban League, not the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This decision, as well as
his speech, show how much Bush wants to "make the promise of America real for everyone."
In short, when it comes to ridding the nation of racism, Bush has no time to address the rants of yesteryear. Taking full view of Americas imperfect past, and a firm hold upon her highest ideals of equality and freedom, Bush continues to hearken the nation back to what is good about America in order to point the way forward--to expand the scope and protection of the rights and opportunities of every American. Here are a few paragraphs from the close of his speech:
Recently, on my trip to Africa, I visited Goree Island in Senegal, where for centuries, men and women were delivered and sorted and branded and shipped. Its a haunting place, a reminder of mankinds capacity for cruelty and injustice.
Yet Goree Island is also a reminder of the strength of the human spirit, and the capacity for good to overcome evil. The men and women who boarded slave ships on that island and wound up in America endured the separation of their families, the brutality of their oppressors, and the indifference of laws that regarded them only as articles of commerce. Still, the spirit of Africans in America did not break. (Applause.) All the generations of oppression under the laws of man could not crush the hope of freedom. And by a plan known only to Providence, the stolen sons and daughters of Africa helped to awake the conscience of America. The very people traded into slavery helped to set America free. (Applause.)
The moral vision of African Americans and of groups like the Urban League caused Americans to examine our hearts, to correct our Constitution, and to teach our children the dignity and equality of every person of every race.