President Obama spoke last night at the University of Arizona at a memorial for the victims of the tragedy that unfolded in Tucson on Saturday.
I was deeply moved by his words, as I feel any honest person must have been. The President said not a single thing to which any good-hearted American could object.
Was it not so?
I'd just like to point out some particulars in his remarks that I found personally inspiring.
...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.These words struck a deep, dissonant chord in my being. I felt admonished by them. As anyone who reads my political posts on this blog knows, I've regularly and frequently resorted to hurling indignities and insults at people with whom I disagree. That ends today.
I will no longer use the term "tea-bagger" to describe people who hold political views different than mine.
I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here --they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.Mr. President, I acknowledge the wisdom of your words. I look forward to finding a way to work with all Americans. We do need to pull together.
That's what I believe, in part because that's what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.
I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us -- we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations.