America Falters, and so it goes...
There has been a lot of failure going on around us these days. Whether we are talking about political failures to come to real solutions that will actually solve many of the problems we see everyday, or we are talking about economic failure that is effecting nearly every American out there. Even a basic failure to communicate with a basic level of dignity that can lead to any of the possible solutions.
I watched President Obama's eulogy in Tuscon last night. I am not going to get very deep into any particular analysis of it beyond saying it was almost exactly the kind of statement that needed to be made from our leadership at this time.
I was, however, a little bit disturbed with the reactions of the crowds to the speech. This was a eulogy, not a campaign speech, and many seemed to be taken aback by the crowds' reactions.
It made me feel uncomfortable, at times, hearing people cheering at a eulogy for people that died. Not just cheering but with catcalls and an exuberance that was unsuitable for an solemn event of this type. And watching the speech I could not help but see some slight cringing by the President as some in the crowd reacted that way... Reacted, as some facebook friends put it, almost like they were spectators at a sporting match or watching a rock star on stage.
I know Bloggers are not the only ones that noticed it. CNN has some notes from some of their regular contributors:
David Gergen, CNN senior political analyst:
"Many of us in the TV audience tuned in to Tucson expecting a solemn service memorializing the dead and wounded. So it was jarring at first to find an atmosphere more like a pep rally, even a campaign rally. John King, on scene for CNN, explained that folks in Tucson needed a catharsis.
"Once one adjusted to the atmosphere, I thought the president had an important message -- that in the aftermath of the massacre, we should speak to each other in ways that heal, not wound. Now the question becomes: Will we? Will our leaders finally become role models? What more must we do?"
John King, CNN chief national correspondent:
"Some at home might have been a bit surprised at how uplifting, all the cheering, all the clapping, and having been here for a few days, as you travel across the town, as you go into the coffee shops, as you're at the hospital where Congresswoman Giffords is still hospitalized, and some of the other victims, makeshift shrines in different places across the city, there's a lot of crying in Tucson the past few days.
"There's a lot of stunned, shocked silence in Tucson the past few days. And I think on this night, after five horrific days, this town needed to cheer.
Again, the President's tone and the content of his speech was remarkable. But it was the crowd that seemed to be at odds with what was going on. But maybe that is what Tuscon really needed? I'll let Arizona decide that on their own.
I view it almost as a symptom of the times, in some ways.
Because no matter how many people you get together to do something these days there are always some that just don't seem to fit the picture of what is going on and will do or say something disturbing.
I was reading about a little girl that had some problems with singing the National anthem at an AHL hockey game. Yes. You know I am a puck head, through and through, but bear with me as this has nothing to do with my fascination with chasing little rubber disks around on ice and with a stick, eh.
Elizabeth Hughes, 8, made her debut signing the national anthem at an AHL Norfolk Admirals (the Tampa Bay Lightning's affiliate) game against the Connecticut Whale (New York Rangers' affiliate) last Friday night. Angelic voice, bundle of nerves ... and then after the words "gave proof," her microphone abruptly cut out.
What happened next might be something we've seen before at a sporting event, but that never lacks for inspiration (and maybe a misty eye or two). There's a moment around 1:30 into this clip that gives us hope for humanity:
An 8-year-old girl is about to suffer a moment of extreme embarrassment that's not of her creation. A woman in the crowd cackles at this moment; not laughs, cackles. You then hear someone "shoosh" those like her during the brief silence. You then hear the crowd pick up the tune in unison.
My point is, in sharing this little video and story about a hockey game, is what happens when she falters.
Yes. There had to be one crank in the crowd that laughed at a little girl and was deservedly "shushed" for mocking a little girl about something that happened that was completely out her control. But the rest of the crowd?
They did what Americans, most of the time and mostly in unison, have tended to do over and over again in the face of an American, or an America in general, faltering.
They come together in unison to solve the problem as quick as they can. To fix the little things they could right away and get things back on track.
Fixing the small things now and... And then fix the bigger things down the line - if the people have any say in what the politicians seem to want to do - is what America often does. And I am talking about the here and now of what needs to be done.
Just as all of dust settles from the event in Tuscon that was meant to help heal the city, the State and the nation just a little bit we had to have another crank in the American crowd:
One tea party leader says that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) has herself to blame for getting shot in the head Saturday.
I have hope at times...
As when I see most Americans come together as they did for that little girl singing the national anthem. But there are little things that need to be fixed now, things like that crank cackling at this tragedy and that needs to be "shushed!" and called out for the disturbing words and actions, if we are ever to move on as President Obama's speech suggests we should.
And we have a lot of cranks out there right now. And they are doing nothing to help us solve anything. They are not contributing to civil discourse in any way and, in fact, are doing their darnedest to stop any and all discourse with rantings and ravings that are an insult to any civilized American, to any sane American.
They are purposely poisoning the debate and we will not be able to, as a country, move on to any real healing, nor any real solutions to any of the problems - America will continue to falter - until they stop or are stopped by the rest of us.