U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Former U.S. President Bill Clinton attend a memorial service for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke on January 14, 2011 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
I watched the so-called memorial for the victims of the deranged man last night.
It was an embarrassing and shameful spectacle.
For starters, no memorial or commemoration of a tragedy is the occasion to hand out t-shirts.
What is wrong with a simple, non-denominational prayer? There are thousands of those. However, no one could be bothered to find one; instead we had an invocation.
The invocation was downright bizarre, with mumbo-jumbo about female and male energy. Paul Mirengoff calls it “ugly“,
It was apparently was some sort of Yaqui Indian tribal thing, with lots of references to “the creator” but no mention of God. Several of the victims were, as I understand it, quite religious in that quaint Christian kind of way (none, to my knowledge, was a Yaqui). They (and their families) likely would have appreciated a prayer more closely aligned with their religious beliefs.
But it wasn’t just Gonzales’s prayer that was “ugly” under the circumstances. Before he ever got to the prayer, Gonzales provided us with a mini-auto biography and made several references to Mexico, the country from which (he informed us) his family came to Arizona in the mid 19th century. I’m not sure why Gonzales felt that Mexico needed to intrude into this service, but I have an idea.
The First Lady shows up in a skirt and a too-small sweater. Can’t someone find her a somber suit that she could deign herself to wear in such occasions?
The President’s speech used muddled terms, such as “moral imaginations”,
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 that our hopes and dreams are bound together.
And couldn’t spare the miracle that was timed to coincide with his presence,
And I want to tell you — her husband Mark is here and he allows me to share this with you — right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues in Congress were in the room, Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. (Applause.) Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. (Applause.)
Gabby opened her eyes. Gabby opened her eyes, so I can tell you she knows we are here.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” as he once said.
The President also couldn’t resist dipping into maudlin sentimentality and exploiting the image of a dead child,
If there are rain puddles in Heaven, Christina is jumping in them today.
Rain puddles in heaven. What a contemptible, exploitive use of a child whose life was bracketed by tragedy.
The President posed a question
It raises a question of what, beyond prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward. How can we honor the fallen? How can we be true to their memory?
And where will we be wearing our t-shirts?
A a shameful charade, inappropriate from the get-go.
Follow-up post, Where did that “Together we thrive” slogan come from?