When the News Isn't Fit to Print ... Blog

Two Speeches on Tucson: One Nailed It

In Obamarama, Sarah Palin on 13/01/2011 at 09:07

After an opening prayer in which a native Yaqui and university professor beseeched one of the gods who made the Yaqui, Aztec and Mayan nations what they are today, Barack Obama manage to deliver a speech without offending two-thirds of the American public tonight.

The President’s speech was eloquent and touched most of the bases one would expect of a presidential address in a time of national reflection and mourning. It was not Reagan’s “Challenger” speech, nor George W. Bush’s address following the 9-11 attacks, but it was sufficient.

But the speech, for someone as dubious of Obama’s motives as myself, was disturbing in a few instances, and somehow wanting in others.

“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.”

I found myself right about this time asking myself just what “old assumptions” the president would have us challenge, the assumption that we have the right to bear arms? Or perhaps the assumption by some that we do not?

But in assessing President Obama’s speech fairly I have to say that what I found lacking interested me more than what he incorporated within it. For me it lacked clarity. Not once did he refer to the criminality behind the horror of last Saturday.

There were two passing references to the God who actually has delivered a people throughout the ages. One follows:

“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.”

In that respect, I suppose he was referring to the gunman who destroyed so many lives and brought such pain to others. Still, I cannot think of a moment in my lifetime when an act of evil was less simple. An evil man, for no reason any sane person will ever understand, murdered and maimed without empathy, even for the most defenseless among us. There is little complexity to the act or the unhinged rationale behind it.

So I felt that the President’s speech, while it was an appropriate condolence for the families and loved ones of those who suffer and died, lacked a certain definition that a leader should have sought to include.

For that definition I had to turn to a much less publicized and certainly less touted address this evening. The speech to which I refer was delivered without fanfare or Native American shaman on FaceBook by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

In a few brief moments and sounding surprisingly like the President she (if we are believe Charles Krauthammer, George Will and legions of others more hateful) cannot ever hope to be, Sarah Palin delivered 1,200 words that nailed our national tragedy to a T.

“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.”

Of course, Palin will never please her detractors on the Right and the liberal Left goes with out saying, but in those few minutes she spoke to the depth of the evil among us, and the hearts and souls of the America that rises above it.

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