Obama’s moving remembrance of the flawed but fierce Barbara Bush is a must-read.

On April 17, 2018, America lost its 41st first lady and the mother of its 43rd president.

Barbara Bush passed away at her Houston home at the age of 92. A well-known — but flawed — first lady, she used her platform to advocate for increased family literacy.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.


In a thoughtful display of bipartisanship and respect, Barack Obama, ever a champion of goodness toward all people, wrote a lovely, heartfelt statement in remembrance of Bush.

His tweet is a welcome display of reaching across the aisle, particularly when humans go through, well, human things.

At a time when Americans are more split politically than ever, when the current president can’t even seem to get the death date of a famous political figure correct, and when it seems that being as rude and ostracizing as possible is the way to be heard, Obama’s tweet is an important example of how to treat each other with grace.

It certainly is indicative of his beliefs about humanity, and his belief that Americans, regardless of political affiliation, can come together first. "Those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can," Obama said in 2013. "We come from different parties, but we are Americans first."

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

While Obama’s tweet — and general life outlook — is certainly a beautiful display of affection toward the Bush family and Americans as a whole, it’s important to recognize Bush’s life as a lesson. Though beloved for her championship of family literacy and her honesty about the difficulty of losing a child, she’s also a polarizing figure for valid reasons.

Photo by Pool/Getty Images.

After Anita Hill’s historic sexual harassment testimony against Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Bush reportedly denied Hill’s claims, questioned her integrity, and defended Thomas by referring to him as “a good man.” In the Maine gubernatorial race, she endorsed Paul LePage, who called people of color "the enemy right now."

Her response to Hurricane Katrina victims — that they “should be thankful” for Houston’s help — was widely viewed as condescending. “And so many of the people in the [Houston Astrodome] here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them,” Bush said in 2005, seeming to imply they would prefer to live in an arena-turned-homeless-shelter instead of their own homes.  

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

She was a flawed person, and we absolutely shouldn’t whitewash her mistakes.

But, as with many flawed politicians and political figures, she was also human, with hopes and dreams and pains and failures.

While we shouldn’t ignore her missteps, we can follow Obama’s example by learning from them.

We can support women in their careers and when they share their stories, we can advocate for immigrants and people of color, and we can listen to and help those who experience challenges, rather than disparaging them.  

By recognizing the contributions Bush made to society, as Obama did, we can support the good causes she championed, respect the complicated life she lived, and take the good from views that may be different from ours.

Most importantly, we can stand with our fellow Americans when they need it most.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

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Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

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