Today's topic at my blog "Resurgence" on BigThink.com:


President Obama Preaches For Revival In Arizona


I was pretty content looking at CPAN last night, watching the people milling around the University of Arizona’s arena after President Obama’s remarks during the memorial service for those killed in the Arizona tragedy. But that got vetoed. In the interests of domestic compromise, I ended up watching the reactions of the political pundits on a couple of the cable news channels instead. I wondered, as I listened to practically all of the pundits and commentators carp about something or another they found objectionable about Obama’s speech, if the president really had it all wrong. Was it possible our commander-in-chief could be so dense that he didn’t understand his public speeches were primarily made for the benefit of political pundit dissections, and not for the benefit of the real live American citizens that might be standing in front of him?

It only took ten minutes of the hyperbole from the professional peanut galleries for me to wonder whether or not they had watched the same speech I’d seen. Anderson Cooper of CNN seemed particularly annoyed by the tendency the crowd had of clapping and yelling both during and after each speaker’s remarks. But to me, the scene in the university arena seemed to be more like a good old fashioned revival than a traditional memorial service. In the moment when President Obama announced that Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time, when his voice transformed into that rush of energy and deep, hopeful timbre that many of us have come to appreciate, you could sense the wonder and awe within the arena.   

The people of Arizona seemed genuinely touched to see the president of the United States among their midst in the aftermath of the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the wholesale slaughter of her constituents, colleagues and friends last Saturday morning. They seemed to sense instinctively, in a nation that routinely tops ten thousand incidents of premeditated gun violence annually that result in a loss of life, that this days old massacre was different.

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