Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I missed President Obama's speech, but the comments seem to agree that he kept it from becoming political, including giving a rebuke to those who have been blaming this on conservatives' "climate of hate." Will it be a turning point for Obama's political fortunes? I'm watching the Fox News follow-up and the response seems to be unanimous that he gave a superb speech.

Watching the clips and rebroadcast, however, it seems as if a lot of those in the hall, were there for some kind of pep rally. The cheering when he entered the hall and during the speechs struck me as unseemly for a memorial for the dead, and while his words were appropriate, the manner in which he responded to the cheering, raising his voice and repeating his applause line, seemed out of tune with the examples we've seen of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and President Reagan. There didn't seem to be a tone of reverence and sorrow. I couldn't help wondering if the advance team had been preparing for a campaign rally instead of a solemn remembrance. I wonder how many applause breaks there were in the Gettysburg Address.

There is much to be grateful for in the aftermath of this maniacal act, especially from the medical reports about Representative Giffords' progress, but when six people were killed, it seems odd to respond to the remarks with cheers like it was a political event, or to deliver them in the loud cadences of a stump speech. I hope that wasn't how it was set up, but I doubt that the people of Tucson in general aren't this crass.

I also hope this speech will put an end to the attempts to politicize this horror. Sarah Palin has made a dignified statement, as well, but it was met with more of the same fault finding by the snobs in the news media. I hope and pray for the recovery of those who still suffer from this crime. Politics will resume, if it ever paused, but nobody should mention it again in connection with our political debates. This tragedy transcends politics and those who seek to coopt it for anything partisan are contemptible. The news media probably will be too dense to understand that, and further spin will receive response from conservatives. But I hope that I can remember my own and President Obama's advice.

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