Since the presidential election is quickly approaching, the Republican and Democrat parties have been arguing with each other and criticizing each other constantly. However, in a rare, bipartisan effort, both parties united to actually get something done. 100 years after people originally proposed a National Museum of African American History and Culture, a concerted effort from both Republicans and Democrats has finally built and opened this museum.
The National Museums are designed to preserve a massive amount of information and artifacts from the nation’s history. It has long been a source of controversy that there are national museums for everything from submarines to railroads, yet there is no museum dedicated to the descendants of the African people who were brought here against their will yet eventually fought for the right to be treated fairly as United States Citizens. After years of trying to generate funds and build awareness for the museum, it was finally opened today.
To celebrate the lengthy bipartisan effort that eventually managed to create the museum, both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush spoke at the opening. President Obama gave a heartwarming speech celebrating the open dialogue on race in America that the museum would create. He said, “Hopefully this museum can help us talk to each other, and more importantly, listen to each other, and most importantly, see each other.”
Bush was also invited to speech because he was the one who first signed the bill that designated funds and approval for building the museum. In his speech, Bush spoke on the importance of recognizing the United States’ dark past. Bush stated that “a great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects thim. This museum tells the truth that a country founded on the promise of liberty held millions in chains, that the price of our union was America’s original sin.”
These excellent speeches by the past and present political leaders of the main two political parties in the United States called to attention the current state of racial equality in America. Right now, there are growing complaints against a focus on equality as Donald Trump and his many supporters suggest that any criticism is just excessive political correctness or purposefully divisive “race baiting.” Bush’s response that it is necessary to admit to past issues with how Africans were treated is very accurate, and it is a shame that more members of his party are not also committed to learning from past mistakes and moving on to a brighter future.
Both Bush and Obama mentioned a hope that the National Museum of African American History and Culture would be a unifying landmark within the United States. It has the potential to educate people about past racial difficulties instead of hiding these problems and dismissing any complaints about racially-motivated mistreatment. If more people can follow these national leaders’ examples and unite to promote freedom and equality, there may be hope of overcoming the current racial issues the nation faces.