"Make A Promise Day" — May 4th

May The Fourth Be With You!

Obama’s Promise: President Obama Deserves A “Standing O” For Tucson Memorial Speech

President Obama deserves an enthusiastic, nationwide, bipartisan Standing O for his masterful speech last night in Tucson.  I’ll comment at greater length about his speech at some point in the future.  For now I wanted to announce the Standing O Award and highlight one aspect of the speech that deserves reinforcement.

Toward the end Obama went into some detail about the youngest victim in the terrible Tucson tragedy, nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green.  The President spoke of her expectations of our democracy, “undimmed by cynicism.”  Then Obama directed these remarkable words to the audience and the country at large:

“I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.”

And after inviting us to imagine Christina jumping in rain puddles in heaven, Obama admonished us all to place our hands over our hearts and “commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.”

The President didn’t use the word “promise,” but that commitment had the emotional, heartfelt feeling of a solemn promise.  So it’s fair, I think, to refer to this as a promise.  It’s a beautiful, uplifting promise that all of us in the United States should be willing to make.  Our political discourse would certainly be elevated if we all promise to think for a moment, before we speak, about Christina Taylor Green and ask ourselves:  “What would Christina think of what I’m about to say?”  And even:  “Am I behaving in a way that lives up to her expectations?”

We’re all familiar with the expression “from the mouths of babes” … the idea that children can sometimes blurt out important truths that sometimes escape the notice of more cynical adults.  The remarkable, transformational thing President Obama is encouraging us to do is to see our politics “from the eyes of babes.”  And maybe this more childlike perspective will help to tone down the ugly, sometimes violent, rhetoric.  We can still disagree but perhaps with Christina Green acting as a kind of national conscience, perhaps we can be a little less rancorous and, frankly, immature in our political debate.

How ironic it will be if by trying to live up to a child’s expectations we succeed in making our political discourse more mature.

January 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment