Thursday, January 13, 2011

Support your local President

Yesterday President Obama gave a stunning rebuke to his own base who've engaged in a horrific blame game all week.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized - at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Contrast that with what his supporters have been up to all week. It is literally disgusting.

I for one cringe everytime I hear someone use the term 'TeaBagger', a term purposely used to hurt. Nothing the Tea Party has ever done has been meant to hurt people with mean words or deeds. The Tea Party is legitimate in their goal to downsize an already too big 'big government'. This time, I support the words of Obama, and hope that those on the left will do so as well.

I only hope that Obama himself can live up to his own words. Obama, the man who implored Democrat voters to "punish our enemies" and only recently referred to Republicans as "hostage takers."

Yet I commend the president for his wise words, for they are very true. Here is more of his rebuke of the media for their accusations of the right for so-called rhetoric: (The text of Obama's speech, from the Denver Post:)

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, "When I looked for light, then came darkness." Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is, none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind. Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do. That we cannot do.

As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.

So please join with me in realizing that the president is right, that we have no idea what was in this person's mind, or what drove him or influenced him. What we do know, based on evidence, is that there were many complaints against him by fellow students, and those complaints went unheeded. If they were heeded, then this individual probably would have been denied a gun because of his psychological profile.


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