Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Together We Thrive" and Other Inappropriate Thoughts

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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.

H/T Memeorandum

Cross posted at LCR.


  1. I couldn't watch it; the T-shirts, concession stands, slogan & cheering seemed , well, unseemly. I read the speech and thought it was OK, and I WANT to believe the POTUS is sincere, but after everything we've seen from him since 2008, you know, it's hard not to be cynical. I want a president who represents ALL of us, not just his base, and it seemed as if he FOR ONCE tried to be that guy, but again, I can only hope that he's sincere and you know 'hope' don't count for a whole lot these days.

    Now as to why he thanked Dupnik, I have a theory which I wrote about at my blog as to why he did it, I think he was drunk dialing, which is also why I think he made that call about Michael Vick and I think Putin got him drunk to convince him that the dangerous START treaty was a good idea and Sarkozy probably plied him with wine when Barry exclaimed that the FRENCH were our BFFs and 'strongest allies', dismissing our UK allies yet again. Perhaps if England had a better beverage to offer than warm flat beer, Barry would be a little nicer to them, too.

    You know what else? I heard a clip of the speech from last night and his voice sounded TOTALLY different than usual, perhaps he had a few beforehand too, that's why he didn't do his standard attack the right thing that he always does.

    Perhaps the GOP can send him a keg or two, then maybe he would stop thinking of them as enemies, terrorists and hostage takers.

  2. I would characterize this post as absurdly, over-the-top deranged, were it not even more succinctly described as just plain stupid.

  3. Suck it Anonymous. Nothing but lies come out of of this president's mouth. If it wasn't for bloggers like this and the brave commentators on Fox, we would not know what's really going on in America. He didn't say anything, but I just know that he blames this tragedy on Sarah Palin and the fact that our Tea Party hates the government. And then he tries to bring us together? I don't want to get together with no lefty marxist muslims.

  4. Zilla: The drunk dialing theory may have some merit to it, but what's Dupnik's (capital "dupe") excuse?

    Anonymous: Cut back on the paint chips, booze and recreational drugs and I'm sure you'll be fine.

    TLL: It's not that everything out of his mouth was a lie, but he was about four days late with some very important truth, which helped allow other people's lies to stand.

  5. The t-shirts were distasteful and the crowd was unfortunate. It was as if they forgot the actual meaning of a memorial service and thought they were at a football game. It was unnecessary to hoot and holler each time Obama spoke. Whatever happened to etiquette and practicing a little restraint?

  6. Excellent! I listened to various and sundry pundits speaking of the speech as 'moving,' 'healing,' 'the finest perhaps he's ever given.' And these were the conservatives.

    I believe our president is someone who is very talented at delivering lines, and am not at all surprised that he delivered these lines well. Someone wrote some pretty good lines; but the crux is that I simply don't believe he believed in what he was saying. It was a campaign rally.

    Linking this in the post I'm working on now, will go up tonight or in the morning.

  7. "I simply don't believe he believed in what he was saying" I know. He has the most sincere way of being insincere.

  8. ‎"Together We Thrive" is also the theme on Edinboro, PA's Unity Church on their webpage. Maybe the university "stole" it from them? Or maybe they took it from Wally Holbrook's campaign for Lake County (CA) Supt of Schools in 2010? It's also a slogan "Be Local Northern Colorado" uses. It's a good set of words to use, and they belong to no one exclusively. For those who think the "tone" of the service was wrong, don't come to my funeral. It will be a celebration, and those who want to wallow in depression and negativity won't fit in. Besides, this was not a "memorial service". It was meant to be a "celebration of life".

  9. Paul: I don't care which church or health care organization or political group uses the slogan, it is inappropriate for a memorial service.

    "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."

    As far as joyfulness? I have no problem with that. But if any politician of either stripe starts handing out campaign literature at my funeral, they should expect one of my pall bearers to feed him his teeth.


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