President Obama Speech at Tucson Flawlessly Conveys Sympathy, Respect, Admiration, Inspiration and Humility.
(Update: Re What President Obama Should Say in Wake of Tucson Massacre About Political Speech.)
(Update 02: Flawlessness of Speech Does Not Excuse, or Negate Cynicism about, Obama's Pre-Speech Silence and Refusal to Rebuke Libelous Demagoguery . .·
Update 02 (January 17, 2011): Obama's flawless speech (which it was) in Tucson does not excuse, nor does it negate justified cynicism about, he pre-speech silence about, and refusal to rebuke, libelous demagoguery by his supporters. His pre-speech silence stands in stark contrast to his insulting insinuations in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre that anyone drawing an inference of Islamic-fanaticism motivation from the killer having shouted "Allahu Akbar" while gunning-down his victims was jumping to conclusions in a prejudicial manner. See Byron York's "Rethinking Obama's Performance in Tucson."
Update (on January 12): After Memorial Speech in Tucson: With eloquence obviating any need for specificity, President Obama gave a flawless speech at the Memorial Service in Tucson on January 12, 2011, which not only suitably conveyed sympathy, respect, admiration, inspiration and humility but also skillfully and humbly rebuked politicization of tragedy. I'm impressed. End of update.
Text before update begins below:
To exhibit great leadership at a time of moral outrage over the massacre at Tucson involving the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the murder of six and the wounding of many others, President Obama should, at an appropriate time and in an appropriate manner, convey a suitable message concerning the heated debate stimulated by irresponsible accusations emanating from people on his side of the political spectrum in the immediate wake of this massacre. What is the gist of what that message should be? Here are my suggestions:
In the immediate wake of the massacre in Tucson involving the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the murder of six and the wounding of many others, which also comprised a mindless attack on the awesome grandeur that the Constitutional system of government created by our Founders, it's appropriate for me to address squarely rather than seek to ignore statements which, though understandable as manifestations of intense personal grief on the parts of the loved ones, friends and admirers of victims of this massacre, comprise reprehensible efforts on the parts of others to attempt to derive political advantage from this unspeakable horror by attempting to cast moral blame upon their political adversaries for these criminal acts. To those for whom such conclusions understandably arise from intense personal grief, I commend the extraordinary ability of the father of the youngest victim, Christina Green, to rise above such human frailty by refusing to attempt to cast such blame-- an ability few of us could muster under such indescribably depressing circumstances. But to those making such accusations emanating not from the almost irresistible distortions caused by intense personal grief but rather from a desire to reap political advantage from this massacre, I say, "Stop it!"
To underscore the morally-reprehensible nature of efforts to contrive grounds for casting unwarranted moral blame for such murderous actions, I need only mention two examples: One consists of my figure-of-speech statement that if our adversaries "bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." The other consists of Sarah Palin having used the time-honored method of placing a "cross-hair" or "target" over maps depicting what political experts have long described as political "battleground" districts or states in political campaigns. What do both of these examples have in common? Virtually no sane person perceived that I intended my "knife" and "gun" metaphor to comprise an attempt to incite or excuse violence rather than the time-honored tradition in American politics to occasionally use combative language which everyone understands to be used merely as a figure of speech. Likewise, no sane person perceived that Sarah Palin's use of the "cross-hair" symbol to depict "battleground" districts or states implied anything other than the same figure-of-speech message I was conveying with my "kife" and "gun" metaphor.
We can't honor the First Amendment by attempting to conform our political speech to a level not capable of misinterpretation by people who are insane or those whose minds are infected by blind hatred. We must recognize that one of the prices we pay for freedom is that unlike totalitarian governance, our system of government knows that perfect security is the enemy, not the friend, of liberty.
It's my opinion that for President Obama to make a statement conveying the gist of the message described above would warrant justifiably high praise for courageous leadership on his part in a time of crisis. For the sake of our country, I hope he conveys a message warranting such high praise.
Permanent links to this installment: