When was the last time you went to a memorial service that had its own theme...and t-shirts... and a wildly inappropriate theme at that: "Together We Thrive". Michelle Malkin dubbed it a "bizarre pep rally". I think she had it right.
'Together We Thrive: Tucson and America' was the theme for tonight's memorial/presidential pep rally. Mr. President, you do realize that people died at that shopping center, right? Some were injured and traumatized and one of the dead was a nine year old girl, and you want to give a speech on "thriving"???
–verb (used without object), thrived or throve, thrived or thriv·en /ˈθrɪvən/ Show Spelled[thriv-uhn] thriv·ing.
1. to prosper; be fortunate or successful.
2. to grow or develop vigorously; flourish: The children thrived in the country.
This was a successful shooting, I suppose, but which of the people shot or their families were "fortunate"? Because the current resident of the White House deigned to come visit them in their sorrow? Hardly. Is "Together we thrive" just a variation on "Yes, We Can"?
The families of the dead may thrive again one day. But not now. Not today. The wounded and traumatized may flourish at some future time. But not now. Not today.
An elected official with a mouthful of platitudes may bring a small measure of comfort. But it's a far cry from flourishing. Prospering. Thriving.
I felt there were a number of false notes throughout the "memorial". Obama quoted from the Bible about...a river and the city of God. But he never mentioned what he thought it meant, or why he thought it was appropriate to this occasion or to these people. It seemed more perfunctory than heartfelt or sincere. It was, in the words of someone or another, in his mouth...just words.
The latter part of his speech was rife with platitudes. Platitudes-R-Us. And then, when he tried to invoke the imagery of "rain puddles in heaven", he just pegged the silliness meter for trying too hard. It was a vain attempt to tug on the heart strings, in lieu of any great words of wisdom or comfort.
The audience too, was a bit out to sea. There were times when applause was appropriate, when Obama acknowledged one of the heroes of the shooting, but other times, it merely punctuated the points in his speech. Plus, there were several occasions when one lone clapper could be heard, rallying for some point best forgotten.
Maybe next speech, he can bring the 'prompter and an "applause" sign?
But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another.Oh, really? Where were you with this message four days ago? You jumped all over the Cambridge cops who arrested Professor Gates, before you had all the details, saying they "Acted stupidly". Want to weigh in on any of the liberals who "acted stupidly" in assigning blame and linking this tragedy to Sarah Palin? Didn't think so. In fact, you called one of the head miscreants, Sheriff Dupnik (capital "dupe"), to thank him in spite of his politically motivated and baseless slurs and slandering of conservatives.
The victims of the Tucson shooting deserved better. They deserved more solemnity in their mourning and more joy in the celebration of their lives. They didn't need a politician to turn the event into a circus or a political rally. Did these guys learn nothing from the Paul Wellstone "memorial"?
And if there was a point in the "thrive" message, Obama never found it. It sounded more like he was shilling for a national day of service than mourning the loss of lives cut short.
I've read several folk who thought that he "hit the right notes". I just couldn't see it. Too much political theater, not enough memorial.
Update: There was one other little thing I almost forgot. When he gave the report about Ms. Giffords, it seemed like he was "milking" the moment. If you have the opportunity to see the video, he said the words "she opened her eyes" four times as I recall...because it seemed he had a punchline he wanted to deliver. He didn't anticipate the applause, which is strange because, after all, it was very good news, but Barry O wanted to get in a lame line about how "she sees us", so he kept repeating "she opened her eyes". The good news was about her, not about you, Mr. President. Better to deliver the good news and let the audience think about her.
Cross posted at LCR.