consoling, cathartic, inspiring

Steve Chapman (Chicago Tribune): We all know that Barack Obama could have had a pretty good career as a law professor, a writer or a state legislator. What had never occurred to me before is that he might have made a good pastor.

His remarks at the memorial service in Tucson — steeped in emotion, infused with wisdom, animated by a generous spirit — were exactly what his shocked, grieving countrymen needed to hear. They were consoling, they were cathartic and they were inspiring.

The powerful address was also a reminder of the qualities that caused the citizenry to elect him in 2008. He rose to the occasion by eloquently invoking themes that dramatize our essential unity even in the face of events that have the potential to polarize. “Our hopes and dreams are bound together,” he emphasized.

It was not his purpose to score political points. On the contrary, he gracefully absolved conservatives of the charge that their angry rhetoric was to blame for the massacre. He made it plain that this is one of those events too large for glib scapegoating.

But he also used the occasion as an opportunity for the sober, humble reflection that individuals and nations need to do every so often. He urged us to act according to the better angels of our nature. But more important, he provided an example of how it’s done.

A lot of Americans don’t agree with his policies or like his personality. But I suspect that tonight, even many of them must have felt, at least for a moment, that Obama is their president, too.

1 Response to “consoling, cathartic, inspiring”

  1. 1 vitaminlover
    January 13, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    If you’ll notice even the Secret Service agent is looking on with emotion. He sees this wonderful man all of the time so his face is reflecting the truth. They are supposed to be tough and hard but I am witnessing a softness coming from that agent that probably surprised himself. Kind of an unguarded moment in a good way.

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