‘tucson speech rose to the moment and transcended it’

Jonathan Freedland (UK Guardian): Throughout his presidency a doubt about Barack Obama has lingered…. the fear was that – for all his oratorical brilliance – Obama somehow lacked empathy, that he was a slightly chilly, aloof figure, that he struggled to connect emotionally.

We’ll hear much less of that talk now.

For the address he gave at last night’s memorial service was elegiac, heartfelt and deeply moving. It both rose to the moment and transcended it: after days of noise and rancour, he carved out a moment of calm.

Much of the speech was dedicated to its core function: to commemorate the dead and comfort those in mourning … in all this, he spoke less like a politician than a pastor or priest comforting a grieving community. The focus on those who had saved lives was an attempt to offer hope amid the sadness…

….This was meant to be the Republicans’ week … instead they look small – as well as defensive, fending off accusations that it was the violent rhetoric of the right that fuelled the current toxic political environment. None smaller than the de facto leader of today’s Republican party, Sarah Palin, who preceded the Tucson address with an aggressive, self-regarding and petty-minded videotaped message that claimed she had been the victim of a “blood libel”. The contrast between the two performances could not have been sharper.

Obama looks the bigger person, calling for a discourse that heals not wounds. That puts him in the place all presidents covet: above the fray, beyond mere Democrat or Republican….

But such thoughts are for later. What will be remembered today are moments like those when he told his audience that Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time – moments when only the most cold-hearted would not have felt a tear. What we saw from Obama in Tucson will be a defining, even cherished moment in his presidency.

Full article here

10 Responses to “‘tucson speech rose to the moment and transcended it’”

  1. 1 majii
    January 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Those who have been portraying PBO as detached and incapable of displaying emotion just haven’t been paying attention. The comparison of PBO to the emotionless Star Trek character, Mr. Spock, is solely a creation of the MSM. The MSM thought that GWB was a great guy who wasn’t afraid to show emotion because of his political and theatrical posturing. I knew the first time I paid attention to GWB that he didn’t really care about being POTUS to help the nation, and I knew he didn’t really care for the average American, and I was right. GWB never had to wonder about where his next meal was coming from. He never had to worry about having a roof over his head. Many times if someone hasn’t experienced these types of situations, it’s difficult for him/her to identify with those who have. PBO experienced both of these, and it makes a huge difference in the way he views the world. If PBO didn’t have empathy and compassion for others I don’t think he would have fought as hard as he did for the middle class and poor in December 2010. MSM seems incapable of connecting the dots. PBO is a person who chooses action that yields real results over political posturing and theatrics.

    • 2 Eleroy
      January 14, 2011 at 2:36 am

      They are well aware, they just choose to ignore and/or play down this splendid President any way they can!!!

  2. 3 cat48
    January 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    You’re absolutely right, majii, he does care or he wouldn’t have worked on the speech for 3 days to make sure it was exactly right for the occasion. Chuck Todd says he’s verified w/WH Aide that the president wrote it himself. He did a wonderful job, and his delivery was spot-on. Just so moving…

  3. 4 Sonjia Duncan
    January 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    So far I have listen to the Presidents speech three times. It seems more like an open prayer for our country to heal from all the hate and division of the last two-plus years. I still tear up when I hear him speak of the child, I hear my child, my grand children when he talks of Christina. I want this prayer to go out to all and to make this country worthy of all of our children.

  4. 5 collegekay
    January 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Absolutely love this man. What an amazing President and, more importantly, and amazing person. We are lucky to have him.

  5. 6 Sue in Minnesota
    January 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Everyone who congregates here, recognizes in Barack Obama what others have not been able, or possibly refused to see….until last night. I appreciate all who have opened their eyes. Our President is/was exceptional, as we have always seen him to be.

  6. 7 persephone
    January 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    “Obama somehow lacked empathy, that he was a slightly chilly, aloof figure, that he struggled to connect emotionally.”

    This is the most RIDICULOUS thing I have read this year. Trumping Palin, and GOP & Co.

    It’s patently insulting for people to be maliciously libelous and dishonest just because they fear what he is and represents.


    • January 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      Hi Persephone, just to make it clear, the author of that wonderful article wasn’t himself suggesting that “Obama somehow lacked empathy, that he was a slightly chilly, aloof figure, that he struggled to connect emotionally”, he was saying this is the bullshit the President’s opponents come out with.

  7. 10 vitaminlover
    January 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Co-signing with everyone here.

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