There is not much I can add to what the President said last night. He verbalized what many of us believe down deep. What we know is the right thing to do. We as a nation can only be as strong as the attitude and companionship we have and actually show with each other. Words and visualizations have power and taking responsibility is what makes us a nation of grown-ups. Outrageous hyperbolic comments and false equivalency has no place in grown-up conversations. The art of listening is difficult and does not come with the package of being human. It is learned. We make mistakes, learn from them and practice to make listening better.
As the President said:
The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives – to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud. It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other’s ideas without questioning each other’s love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.
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.
What we don’t need are Agnew-esque diatribes on a net video that are as incredulous as they are just, well, sad. Owning up and taking responsibility for words and/or actions is what grownups do. It’s refreshing that we have a grown-up-in-chief who addressed without blame the aspirations of the rest of us.
Events like Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and now Tucson unite us however briefly with a single purpose, identity. Tomorrow we will get better and the day after that it will get better, and so on, and we need to remember who we are and always remember. That “hopey-changey” thing really works given a chance. The alternative is simply unhealthy for our country.
In speaking about the aspirations of the youngest victim of Saturday’s shooting, Christina Taylor Green, the President said:
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.
So? What’s the plan?
and so it goes…