At a memorial for the five slain Dallas police officers, President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that a week of deeply troubling violence has seemed to expose "the deepest fault lines of our democracy." But he insisted the nation is not as divided as it seems and called on Americans to find common ground in support of racial equity and justice, the AP reports. Obama acknowledged that Americans are unsettled by another mass shooting and are seeking answers to the violence that has sparked protests in cities and highlighted the nation's persistent racial divide. "It's hard not to think sometimes that the center might not hold, that things might get worse," Obama said. "We must reject such despair." He joined politicians, police officers, and families of the fallen in the wake of the shocking slayings by a black man who said he wanted revenge for the killings of blacks by police.
A call for national unity and solidarity was reinforced by several speakers at the interfaith service, including former President George W. Bush, a Dallas resident, who attended with his wife, Laura. "At times it feels like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together," Bush said. "Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose." "We want the unity of hope, affection and higher purpose," he said. Obama's choice of traveling companions underscored the theme. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California joined Obama on Air Force One for the flight to Dallas. Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas spoke at the service but did not travel with the president.