Speech Tip: Eulogizing President Bush
The eulogy for President George Bush is loaded with challenges. I wrote similar things when John McCain died.
Eulogies about public figures such as President Bush, 41, are hard for several reasons. Death is always personal, but the death of a president is always public. How do we reconcile that? One thing we don’t do is qualify our remarks by including any dispute we had. We simply focus on what was good. That’s what a eulogy does.
If the public figure was polarizing, you make a decision: Say something nice or shut up. If you don’t have something good to say, my dad taught me, say nothing at all.
Eulogizing President Bush is with the usual challenges, but it isn’t the space for political commentary. If you are asked to the stage to eulogize him, you honor him. If you can’t, use your freedom of speech and express your perspective elsewhere.
It isn’t complicated but our intellectual insecurity makes it so. There’s nothing wrong with a kind word when someone we didn’t like dies.
When you die, you can say anything you want. Until then, be nice.
Do you need a eulogy?