Posts Tagged ‘tucson



17
Jan
11

leadership

Washington Post: Americans overwhelmingly describe the tone of political discourse in the country as negative, verging on angry, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but more than half say that the culture did not contribute to the shootings in Tucson that killed six people and wounded 13…

Evaluations of President Obama’s handling of the Jan. 8 tragedy are highly positive across the political spectrum (78 percent), with nearly eight in 10 giving him high marks for his response to the incident. Even 71 percent of Republicans say they approve of his leadership following the shootings.

….In contrast to glowing reviews for the president, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin draws more negative than positive evaluations of the way she has handled the tragedy. About 30 percent give her positive marks while nearly half – 46 percent – disapprove of her actions…

Full article here

16
Jan
11

‘no one listened to gabrielle giffords’

I’ve been avoiding reading Frank Rich lately because some of his recent articles drove me bonkers, but thank you so much to Jennifer for letting me know about this one. I just posted extracts below – you can read the complete article at the link. I’ve been amazed the past week by how many commentators – and not just fruitloops on Fox ‘News’ – decided we could just dismiss what happened in Arizona as the work of a ‘mad man’ and not even consider that the inflammatory anti-Government hate-filled rhetoric of the right and the atmosphere it has created could have influenced his instability in any way, or tipped him over the edge. He had, after all, one hugely significant thing in common with the Tea Party and their like, he hated Government and was utterly paranoid about it. And he had that right wing insanity swirling all around his troubled head. How on earth could he have been immune to it? Any way, Frank Rich makes the argument briiliantly – thanks again Jennifer.

 

Frank Rich (NYT): …If we learn nothing from this tragedy, we are back where we started. And where we started was with two years of accelerating political violence…that struck fear into many, not the least of whom was Gabrielle Giffords.

…Did Loughner see Palin’s own most notorious contribution to the rancorous tone — her March 2010 Web graphic targeting Congressional districts? We have no idea — nor does it matter. But Giffords did. Her reaction to it — captured in an interview she did back then with Chuck Todd of MSNBC — was the most recycled, if least understood, video of last week.

…Giffords said that Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” … (she said) that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. … Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start.

…Since Obama’s ascension, we’ve seen repeated incidents of political violence … he said, correctly, on Wednesday that “a simple lack of civility” didn’t cause the Tucson tragedy. It didn’t cause these other incidents either. What did inform the earlier violence — including the vandalism at Giffords’s office — was an antigovernment radicalism as rabid on the right now as it was on the left in the late 1960s. That Loughner was likely insane, with no coherent ideological agenda, does not mean that a climate of antigovernment hysteria has no effect on him or other crazed loners out there….

…What’s more disturbing is what Republican and conservative leaders have not said. Their continuing silence during two years of simmering violence has been chilling.

Full article here

14
Jan
11

‘girl’s death hits home for obama’

Helene Cooper (New York Times): President Obama is not known for showing a surplus of emotion in public, but toward the end of his speech at the University of Arizona, he paused for 51 seconds and appeared to gather himself.

….9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green’s death was an emotional punch to the gut for so many people across the country. Among them … is the president himself, whose younger daughter, Sasha, was born three months before Christina.

“I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it,” Mr. Obama had just said. “All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”

And then he stopped. After 10 seconds, he looked to his right. After 20 seconds, he took a deep breath. After 30 seconds, he started blinking. Then his jaw tightened. Finally, after 51 seconds of silence, he began to speak again, describing a book published after Sept. 11, 2001 – the day Christina was born – that included her picture and simple wishes for a child’s life, including one inscription that read “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

It was a stark moment for Mr. Obama, both as a president and as a father … he made no explicit mention of either Sasha or her older sister, Malia. But they have been on his mind as he has grappled with how to respond to the shootings…. the president, friends said, was initially hesitant about calling Christina’s parents after the shootings, saying that if it had happened to his daughters, he would not be capable of talking to anyone. He eventually did call the Greens … and then met with them before his speech.

..on Wednesday night, Mr. Obama’s perspective as a parent came through, propelling him to what is likely to be remembered as the one of the most soaring moments of his presidency.

Full article here

13
Jan
11

reflections

13
Jan
11

a letter from the first lady

An Open Letter to Parents Following the Tragedy in Tucson

Dear parents,

Like so many Americans all across the country, Barack and I were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of violence committed in Arizona this past weekend.  Yesterday, we had the chance to attend a memorial service and meet with some of the families of those who lost their lives, and both of us were deeply moved by their strength and resilience in the face of such unspeakable tragedy.

As parents, an event like this hits home especially hard.  It makes our hearts ache for those who lost loved ones.  It makes us want to hug our own families a little tighter.  And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.

In the days and weeks ahead, as we struggle with these issues ourselves, many of us will find that our children are struggling with them as well.  The questions my daughters have asked are the same ones that many of your children will have – and they don’t lend themselves to easy answers….

….We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us.  We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.

…We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

Christina Green felt that call.  She was just nine years old when she lost her life….

And that’s something else we can do for our children – we can tell them about Christina and about how much she wanted to give back.  We can tell them about John Roll, a judge with a reputation for fairness; about Dorothy Morris…. And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country.

Sincerely,

Michelle Obama

Read the full letter here

(I confidently predict right wing OUTRAGE over this wonderful letter, particularly about the passages marked in red – “Look, look, she’s blaming us!” But then again, when was there ever no OUTRAGE from the right over anything the Obamas have ever said and done?? Thank you, First Lady)

13
Jan
11

arizona

President Obama talks with speechwriter Cody Keenan aboard Air Force One on the flight to Tucson, Jan. 12

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are greeted by officials after arriving at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson

….greeting Ron Barber, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ district director, and members of his family at University Medical Center in Tucson

…..greeting shooting victims and their family members at the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center. Pam Simon, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ outreach coordinator who was shot twice, sits in the background.

….with members of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ staff at the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, listen as Daniel Hernandez delivers remarks during the memorial service

Homeland Security Secretary and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano stands with Mark Kelly

People embrace as President Obama makes mention of first responders, medical personnel, and those who helped stop the gunman, during the memorial service

Daniel Hernandez, the 20-year-old intern credited with saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, receives a standing ovation

President Obama greets Mavy Stoddard and members of the Stoddard family. Dorwan Stoddard, Mavy’s husband, died while protecting her during Saturday’s shooting.

All Official White House Photos by Pete Souza and Chuck Kennedy

13
Jan
11

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.

13
Jan
11

‘a balm to the broken-hearted’

13
Jan
11

‘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

13
Jan
11

the tucson memorial service (full video)

The text of the President’s address




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