His family name symbolizes an American political dynasty, but his chosen path is outside of politics. Neil Bush is a businessman, investor and Founder/Chairman, along with his wife, Maria, of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. In my previous role as a news anchor and reporter in Houston and St. Louis, I got to know Neil and his famous parents over the course of many years. When I asked him for this interview, he didn’t hesitate for a moment to say yes, believing in our mission to help bring civility back to our national discourse. We sat down to talk on October 31st, not knowing that one month later his dad, our 41st President of the United States, would pass away. As the nation has mourned and paused to remember President George Herbert Walker Bush, we have all been reminded of what civility looks like. With that in mind, I couldn’t think of a better way to launch this podcast than to share my conversation with Neil, including some poignant reflections of his mom and dad, and a hilarious story about his brother, George.
No topic was off limits, and he didn’t shy away from discussing one of the most distressing times in his life as we explored the topic of what it feels like to be “the other”, (yes, even someone of privilege knows what that feels like), and his thoughts on the political and idealogical divide that is tearing our country apart. Some of you, no doubt, already have an opinion of him based on your politics or your assumptions; others of you are, no doubt, delighted to hear from this man whom you respect and admire. And that is the point of this podcast. To invite and encourage you to give Neil, and all of our guests, #permission to speak — and for you to have the #courage to listen — with an open mind. 41’s life was a master class in how to do just that. Let’s vow to learn from his example and embrace our common humanity.