Quite The Display
I just finished watching the live, or rather, live paused 9 minutes on the DVR, memorial service in Tuscon, Arizona, for the fallen and wounded victims after last Saturday’s tragedy. Thought I might give my observations on it.
I have not followed or seen any sort of social media, and purposely stopped the DVR once the news anchor began speaking so as to not be influenced by anyone else. So what you are about to read is my opinion and mine alone.
I turned on the television shortly after arriving home and taking care of the normal things. It was near the end of Governor Jan Brewer’s statements. Following the Governor was Homeland Security Secretary Janet Naplolitano, Attorney General Holder, and President Barack Obama.
All day long through various media I had heard some speculating that this would turn into another Wellstone Memorial. For those that don’t recall, Senator Paul Wellstone had passed away shortly before his reelection bid would take off. Wellstone was an unapologetic liberal, but by all accounts was respected and respectful about it. However, this particular service turned into an embarrassing campaign rally, even to the point Republican Senators such as Trent Lott and others, in attendance to pay respects to a fallen friend, were booed by the the crowd, and lofty rhetoric of winning the election for Paul was front and center. And as far as I can tell, those that perpetrated that fiasco didn’t even have the sense to be embarrassed by it.
I thought to myself surely this won’t happen tonight. Not after the last time. Obama’s media people will tone it down. Seems I was partially right.
From Brewer, I didn’t get the full context of her remarks, but Napolitano and Holder merely read passages from the Bible, without giving any personally-prepared statements. But what bothered me at this point was the reaction of the crowd inside the auditorium.
As Napolitano was introduced, I heard wild applause, even cheering and whistling. Same with Eric Holder. I think this was highly inappropriate, considering it was supposed to be a memorial service to honor the fallen and wounded. I can’t place the blame for that with the speakers themselves. Still, had I been at the podium, I might have snapped a remark about “sit down and shut up, don’t you know why we are here?” Perhaps some polite applause after being introduced, and/or upon completion of their remarks, certainly. But cheering and whistles?
Then, President Obama was introduced. Again, to wild cheering. As for his statement, others might disagree, but it was mostly okay. I got annoyed at the crowd, thinking they had to applaud at the end of each sentence it seemed, but again, not really Obama’s fault.
He started with naming the victims, sharing part of their life story, bringing some humanity to the unknown names we see listed in the newspaper or on the TV screen. He also shared that shortly after his visit to the hospital, Representative Gabrielle Giffords was still recovering and had opened her eyes for the first time. The cheering at that line I feel was pretty much called for.
But it seemed he couldn’t resist. Obama just had to go into making a point about the civil discourse. Emphasized how we should all respect each other, even if we have different ideas. And continue the debate that moves this country forward. And I even noted at a couple of points he raised his tenor to “yes we can” and “we are the ones we have been waiting for” cadences.
On the whole, I do tend to agree with those statements. His actual words were generic enough in nature so as not to actually name anyone who might not be respecting others opinions, which I suppose is a step up for him. And if he really means it, then I applaud him. However, in the venue he was speaking in, and the circumstances surrounding it, bringing himself into the mud slinging fight over this issue was uncalled for. As Ed Morrissey has stated on a number of occasions, Obama has a problem known as “punching below his weight.” Simply put, that means picking a fight with someone or some issue that is beneath the level he should be at.
With the absolute insanity that is permeating the media (and not just the usual left/right blog types or pundit class, but ‘respected’ news outlets such as ABC, New York Times, and others) over trying to assign ‘blame’ to one thing or another for this senseless, horrific event, Obama had the chance to stay above it all. Simply honor the fallen, pray for the wounded, and perhaps suggest we all learn from the tragedy, and leave the specifics to others.
There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that anything other than a mental instability had anything to with the gunman’s motivation. For the President to suggest, however generically, that is is somehow our fault because we like to debate and bicker about politics is beneath him.
And I’m sorry to say, but I suspect that very shortly, in the State of Union speech coming up, we will see him reference this again in proposing some sort of new regulations, either to firearms sales, talk radio, cable news, or the internet. And I will happily apologize if I am wrong.
All in all Mister President, you could have done, and are capable of, much better than what I just witnessed. At least I hope you are.