Obama and Bush, in Dallas, Call for American Soul Searching on Race Relations

President Obama, President Bush and Vice-President Baiden, along with their spouses, in Dallas on July 12, 2016

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President Obama, President Bush and Vice-President Baiden, along with their spouses, in Dallas on July 12, 2016 ,  paid respect to 5 slain officers.  In their speeches, Obama and Bush called on Americans to do deep soul searching on race relations. Below are extracts from the main speeches during the event:

Obama said:

"Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory. Because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance, character. And character, hope. Sometimes the truths of these words are hard to see. Right now those words test us. Because the people of Dallas, people across the country are suffering"

"We turn on the TV or surf the internet, and we can watch positions harden and lines drawn and people retreat to their respective corners," he said at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center. "Politicians calculate how to grab attention or avoid the fallout. We see all this, and it's hard not to think sometimes that the center won't hold. And that things might get worse. I understand. I understand how Americans are feeling. But, Dallas, I'm here to say we must reject such despair."

"I know that Americans are struggling right now with what we’ve witnessed over the past week. First, the shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, the protests. Then the targeting of police by the shooter here, an act not just of demented violence, but of racial hatred."

"When all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act? We cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protests as troublemakers or paranoid. You can't simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and co-workers and fellow church members, again and again and again? It hurts. Surely, we can see that. All of us."

"Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something more than themselves"

"These five heroes knew more than most that we cannot take the blessings of this country for granted. The pain we feel will not soon pass, but my faith tells me they have not died in vain."

"The reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law, that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor, that in this country we don’t have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules. Instead, we have public servants, police officers, like the men who were taken away from us. And that’s what these five were doing last Thursday when they were assigned to protect and keep orderly a peaceful protest in response to the killing of Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge and Philando Castile of Minnesota."

"If we're to sustain the unity we need to get through these difficult times, if we are to honor these five outstanding officers whom we've lost, then we will need to act on the truths that we know. And that's not easy. It makes us uncomfortable. But we're going to have to be honest with each other and ourselves. We know that the overwhelming majority of police officers do an incredibly hard and dangerous jobs honorably and fairly, and they are deserving of our respect and not our scorn.

"And when anyone, no matter how good their intentions may be, paints all police as biased or bigoted, they undermine those officers we depend on for our safety."

Bush said: 

"We don't want the unity of grief, nor do we want the unity of fear. We want the unity of hope, affection and high purpose."

 "we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions."

"This is the bridge across our nation's deepest divisions. And it is not merely a matter of tolerance but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens and finding our better selves in the process. At our best, we know we have one country, one future, one destiny. We do not want the unity of grief, nor do we want the unity of fear. We want the unity of hope, affection and high purpose."

Dallas Police Chief David Brown, reading the lyrics to Stevie Wonder's "As," which he dedicated to the families of the five  killed officers:

"We all know sometimes life's hates and troubles

Can make you wish you were born in another time and space

But you can bet you life times that and twice its double. 

That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed."

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