Yesterday’s speech at University of Arizona’s McKale Center by President Obama honoring the victims of the January 8th mass shooting/assassination-attempt in Tucson was a great, inspiring bit of oratory. He’s quite politically deft, if he can give a speech both the right and the left are praising with enthusiasm.
And the way the ceremony started, with a Pascua Yaqui blessing, I think this really gave folks who live elsewhere a sense of the unique, funky nature of Tucson….which you can still find, if you look, though it’s getting harder.
But I am SO TIRED in the last 24 hours of hearing the east-coast, inside-the-beltway stuffed shirts (like Michael Gerson, good grief!) say that they didn’t think the “pep-rally-like” atmosphere at McKale Center yesterday was “appropriate” for a memorial speech. Apparently, when the 14,000 people in the sports area cheered during the speech, this was evidence of disrespect and lack of manners. Read this AP article for more.
The dead and wounded deserve respect; which, during the speech, they received in great measure. But there was lots to cheer about in the speech, too–for example, all the heroes present and the amazing medical progress the wounded survivors are making, as well as what looks like the miraculous recovery of Gabrielle Giffords: talk about statistically unlikely.
There was probably more crowd participation because there were many students present: and I’d say they were over-represented because they were the only ones who had the time and energy to stand in line for over 6 hours, which was the minimum time required to get in.