Last night, Tucson mourners came together to memorialize those killed by Jared Loughner on Saturday morning. Emotions in the 14,000+ crowd were all over the emotional map. Joy and tension-relieving applause broke out when President Obama announced that Gabrielle Giffords had "opened her eyes for the first time" yesterday. There were respectful and appreciative rounds of applause for those at the scene Saturday who demonstrated bravery, unusual composure and selflessness. There were tears flowing as the nation's highest political leader called citizens to a higher place for the sake of our children, children like the angelic, 9 year old, Christina Green, taken from her family in such a horrific and senseless way.
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.
I recognize words like these. They are the words of a pastor. Appropriate words. Redemptive words. Light-out-of-darkness words. President Obama sincerely appealed to "our better angels" last evening and I, for one, appreciate the fact that he is the president at this moment in our history.
As close as Obama came to a rebuke of anyone came, rather, as a challenge to everyone....
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.
These are the prepared remarks of a true American leader...one who fully appreciates and respects the responsibilities of his office representing all Americans. Just as Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, and yes, even Bush 2, at times, rose to the level required of their office, calling for us to unite as one proud country after tragedies....so too, now Obama.
Sadly, and I sincerely mean that,....the same cannot be said about Alaska's former Governor, Sarah Palin, and how she chose to address her followers and the nation yesterday morning.
It is possible that some may feel it is inappropriate for me to include commentary on Sarah Palin alongside of reflections about last night's memorial service. I understand that sentiment. If it were not for the stark contrast teaching moment Palin, herself, provided yesterday morning (transcript here).....I would not do so. But she did.....provide a stark contrast teaching moment. And we can learn from it.
Here is the paragraph which The Reverend believes has ended Sarah Palin's political career.....
Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
From the early going in 2008, my impression of Sarah Palin had been negative. The reason was simple. I did not think she fully comprehended the serious responsibility that a call to even higher office demanded. Her feisty, flippant, cockiness seemed out of place for such a new entrant at the highest level. And it is those same attributes which have brought her to this low point.
Ms. Palin's obsession with her own narcissism-fueled, victimization by others, specificly media, was entirely misplaced in comments beginning with words like "healing process." Though facing criticism from media about her use of imagery and phrasing leading up to the midterms......criticism which Gabrielle Giffords, herself, had voiced last March.....Palin, I think shockingly, decided that she would claim that she was the victim, too. It was neither the time, nor the opportunity. The phrase, tone deafness, applies.
If that were not sad enough....Palin, or someone Palin approved, included the words "blood libel" to describe her own victimization. I have no idea whether Palin understood the meaning of those words or not. It really doesn't matter.
The words "blood libel" find there earliest roots in the middle of the 12th century when Christians falsely accused Jews of kidnapping and killing a Christian child, draining the child's blood, and then mixing the blood with other ingredients to make matzos for Passover. Throughout history, Jewish people have suffered unspeakable misery at the hands of Christians over this "blood libel", false accusations horror.
Gabrielle Giffords is the only Jewish female in the House of Representatives. Gabrielle Giffords was a victim of Saturday's massacre. Sarah Palin was not. Yet, Ms. Palin claimed not only that she was a victim, but that the words that led to so much Jewish blood spilling over history, the very words which conjure up horrific images of unjust and bloody cruelty towards Jews...in fact, actually applied to her.
If Ms. Palin knew the meaning of those words.....she has revealed herself as not only a narcissist, but also as heartless and cruel. If she didn't.....after waiting three or four days to comment on the Tucson tragedy.....the question remains, why didn't she?
Either way, I think Ms. Palin's 8 minute video release yesterday morning will mark the end of her political aspirations.
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