Maybe under a different administration the decision for the Attorney General to speak at a memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Tucson would seem logical. In this instance, however, it was a bad decision. This is the same Attorney General who is suing the state over the state's illegal immigrant policy - voted into place by the majority of voters in Arizona. It is bad enough it took this horrible tragedy to get the President to the state. It would have been responsible of him to be there earlier in his term to do his duty as the President - to secure the border that is now out of control.
I confess I didn't watch the memorial. It looked to be too easy to become some kind of campaign rally - the memories of the Wellstone memorial during the Clinton administration still are fresh - and Obama is incapable to prevent such behavior of his audiences. He loves it. He encourages it with the slipping back and forth between formal and informal delivery of his remarks.
I did read the speech online. Here is the campaigning Obama:
But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.
Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, “when I looked for light, then came darkness.” Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.
For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.
So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.
But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.
See, we don't know what set this guy off but it probably wasn't political rhetoric, Obama acknowledges. But, he instructs us to just knock it off anyway. Re-elect him so your hopes and dreams will come true.
A unicorn in every back yard.
It bothers me to hear of all the clapping and whistles with the clapping, during a memorial service. I understand the acknowledgement of the survivors and heroes. It just too easily gets carried away.
No wonder John Boehner didn't attend. He probably saw himself as the Bob Dole of the Wellstone memorial - boos and all.