Lehigh Valley

Jeb Bush speaks at DeSales University

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Former United States Presidential Republican candidate and Florida Governor Jeb Bush delivered the 31st Rev. Thomas J. Furphy Lecture at DeSales University Wednesday evening.

Bush stressed the gulf between the wealthy and poor to the large crowd in Billera Hall.

"If you're born poor in America you're likely to stay poor," he said. "If you're born wealthy you're likely to stay wealthy."

The boom in technology, through automation, has resulted in the loss of many jobs. According to Bush, 45 percent of jobs Americans do today can be done through automation.

Bush referred to the United Postal Service losing 1,000 trucks, resulting in 1,000 fewer drivers.

"Is it possible within the next decade we can automate those trucks?" he asked.

While wealth is important, it isn't benefiting all Americans.

The typical worker isn't keeping the same job for life, as in the past. Also, issues such as weaker marriages, more divorces, the opioid crisis, religious institutions and civic associations are not being discussed.

"You can see why people are angry," Bush said. "You can see why people are anxious."

Bush laid out a four-step approach in moving America forward again and restoring civil society.

The first step, he said, is America must strive to restore civil society and act on their compassion at the local level. Bush noted his Catholic faith.

"We outsource our compassion and empathy when we see people struggling to the government," he said.

He recommended Americans work on improving their families and strive to ensure their local schools work.

"We created a system that was created around self-government," Bush told the crowd. "Forget Washington, D.C. for awhile."

Secondly, high sustaining economic growth is positive, not negative.

"We've had anemic economic growth," he said, noting job creation has been strong, but incomes have not followed upward.

He suggested an energy policy, allowing America to become energy secure, along with immigration reform.

"We should be naively optimistic again because we're growing our economy," Bush said.

The third step must concentrate on how we educate our children from pre-kindergarten to life. America must make the education system child and student centered.

According to Bush, only one third of America's children are college prepared, with only 60 percent graduating from college in six years. The country, he stressed, must make it a goal college students graduate in four years.

"We need high expectations for students," he said.

Finally, he said politics in America are severely damaged. Ultimately, our politics mirror us as a people.

"Our political discourse is broken," Bush stressed.. "How we elect candidates is broken."

It's a system filled with each side chastising the other side, with vulgarity and discouragement. Such an approach "will not solve the problem," he said.

Bush suggested America recognize the problem lies inward and toxic discourse should be penalized.

"Everyone is deserving of value," he said. "As Americans, we should not tolerate this hypocrisy."

Additionally Bush recommended Americans listen to the other side's view and challenge one's thinking by finding common ground.

However, he said, those with deeply held beliefs should keep them.

"Take a stand," he said. "It's much better to be respected."

Also, those politicians who embrace the [President Richard] Nixon to China movement must be recognized. It's these individuals who ensure the country comes together, he said.

"It was a brilliant move," he said. 

Bush offered hope near the end of the lecture. America must fix what it is ailing it. 

"We're on the verge of the greatest time to be alive in this country," he said. "We have to look ourselves in the mirror and say I want to be part of that."

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