It started with a prayer. Not your typical church on Sunday prayer, but a prayer unlike most Americans have ever heard. With the families and friends of the victims, being primarily Christian and Jewish, one would assume the opening prayer would at least mention God. Unfortunately, that is not what was provided. It would be the beginning to what was supposed to be a memorial service for the fallen, but became a pep rally; or at least, that was the excuse given by pundits.
I can only describe what I saw as horrifically inappropriate political posturing at the expense of tragic victims of a deranged madman. Harsh words for something that was supposed to be a beautiful way to memorialize the AZ shooting victims, I know, but let’s examine the facts.
The choice of Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano as speakers at the service was, to me, a bad choice. I would have rather heard from family members, or friends who knew the victims well, not from cabinet members who have recently become unpopular with the American people due to their anti-American actions and comments.
I can only see Napolitano’s speech as a way to regain face. She quoted Isaiah, which would be well and good if she hadn’t previously been putting God and the people who worship Him in the back of their proverbial bus.
“Groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-orientated (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority or rejection of government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” -Napolitano’s DHS anti-terrorism security assessment.
So after practically calling Conservative Christians terrorists during actual terrorist attacks she decides to quote the Bible at a memorial service. If you ask me, she used both God and the victims to climb her way back into the popular crowd. She might as well have read off of a Denny’s menu. It would have sounded just a cheap, and gone down just as horribly. Sadly, it would have gotten the same applause by certain members of the crowd.
Next up was Eric Holder, and he would go about taking the same route that Napolitano went; reading from the Bible that offends so many individuals he likes to defend. You’ll recall that Holder recently fell out with Americans due to his unwillingness to define those that practice radical Islam as terrorists. However, he’s more than willing to throw mud at the tea party. He can’t wait to investigate the right for voter fraud, but is quick to stand up for and let voter intimidation tactics slide for the Black Panther party.
To boot, he’s currently suing Arizona over their immigration law. Not exactly the person I’d choose to bring comfort to Arizonans.
Throwing these two up on stage to quote a book they’d rather see in the trash only makes me think the DNC is moving its bishops out of harms way. Evidence says it was little more than political strategy…and it was (sadly) a solid move.
Now, besides Gov. Jan Brewer and Daniel Hernandez being appropriate people to take the stage during this event (Gov. Brewer, however, being welcomed with a few boos from the crowd), I also find it good that the President took the opportunity to say a few words.
It was a very eloquent and well put together speech that drew emotions from the crowd and did well to pay tribute to the victims. No really, I’m being honest. I think when it addressed the victims and their loved ones it was a beautiful speech.
However, there are a few things that caught my attention…
“What we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. 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 us 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 our hopes and dreams are bound together.”
Pretty words and I’d love to believe them.
But you’ve all heard the phrases that have come out of the President’s mouth regarding his “enemies” who need to stay “in the back of the bus” because, let’s face it, we “cling to guns and religion” so fiercely we become “hostage takers”. If he had looked hard to his left, where members of his administration were sitting, and said “So quit it”, I might have taken him seriously.
Most egregious of all was the crowd itself, who whooped and hollered like Lady Gaga was taking the stage whenever a speaker took the mic. You’d think the college kids who attended were more concerned about getting autographs signed later than the actual reason for the event.
Instead of being a memorial in tribute to the tragic deaths of 6 people, it became the Obama and friends show. His name could hardly be mentioned without the backseat college crowd screaming out their adoration for him to the point where I actually had to restrain myself from throwing things at my TV.
When Christina Greene’s name was called out a cheer erupted, instead of solemn silence in respect for the passed. They were calling out the name of a slain child, and you’d think they were calling her up to receive her degree. Imagine being her parents at that moment.
I feel that if it were really about honoring the victims I would have heard more about them, t-shirts wouldn’t have been passed out, the speakers would have been personal friends or people who knew them well, and there would have definitely been an air of respect that didn’t involve inappropriate cheering.
I am, however, glad of the news about Gabrielle Gifford’s steady recovery, which is a blessing. That’s something that we can cheer about.
If I could pass off one message to the family and friends of the victims, it’s this: God is with you, and there is no greater comfort than that. All of America is supporting you in this troubled time, and offering up their prayers and well wishes for you and yours.
In the end, I think that’s all that matters.