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G.H.W. Bush: Commitment to Excellence in Public Service

Excerpts of speech to the Americas Summit, College Station, Texas, April 30, 2008

Français, Español

I’m glad to see all of you here. I had a nice visit with Rev. Moon and thanked him for bringing this prestigious group to Texas A&M University.

First of all, I want to thank the organizers from the Universal Peace Federation and The Washington Times Foundation. I believed then and I believe today that The Washington Times has helped to bring a much-needed sense of balance and perspective to news coverage in our capital city.

The challenges we face in our own country and those regional matters we share as neighbors are as complex as they are compelling. As a result, the demands being placed on many public servants, like you, are as great as they have ever been. These challenges are too important to leaders entrusted to provide for the general welfare to get wrong.

Now is not the time for us to start turning inward—speaking of my country. Back in 1990, I remember taking what many people considered an ill-advised trip to Cartagena, Colombia, as president to show America’s solidarity with those who simply want to live in peace and toss aside the shackles and the dangerous dictates of the drug lords and terrorists. But I am very glad I went and showed that the United States cares about this battle against narcotrafficking.

Working together for peace and development in Colombia is terribly important. Throughout the hemisphere it is important, and I hope it continues to be an area of strong and productive bi-partisanship. It should be a matter of conscience and not conflict.

I salute you for your commitment to excellence in public service. And I salute Rev. Moon and his associates for what he is doing to help in that very important way.

I know I get a big argument on this right here in the United States, but I believe politics and political service is honorable. I believe that public service is an honorable calling. Sure, there are people who break the public trust. But I was delighted to have spent a good deal of time in elected office and appointed office. I have great respect for the system.

Excerpts of address to the Americas Summit, College Station, Texas, April 30, 2008.