Former U.S. President George W. Bush said recently that he was concerned that the country was headed down a slippery slope toward adopting a "nativist" national mindset, harkening back to a period of xenophobia that he said was prominent in the America of the 1920s.
Speaking at a forum at Southern Methodist University last month, Bush said that he had faith a "rational immigration policy" would eventually be passed, but not for a while. The reason he believed this, he said, was because the nation as growing increasingly resistant to outside influences.
"What's interesting about our country, if you study history, is that there are some 'isms' that occasionally pop up. One is isolationism and its evil twin protectionism and its evil triplet nativism. So if you study the '20s, for example, there was an American-first policy that said, 'Who cares what happens in Europe?'" Bush said. "And there was an immigration policy that I think during this period argued we had too many Jews and too many Italians, therefore we should have no immigrants. And my point is that we've been through this kind of period of isolationism, protectionism and nativism. I'm a little concerned that we may be going through the same period. I hope that these 'isms' pass."
During another segment of the interview, Bush also claimed that he was "through with politics," and that he wasn't interested in getting involved with campaigning or fundraising for future candidates.