These victims are the victims, the price they paid is high and beyond our judgment. The President visits Tucson with a pocket full of Bible verse to offer solace to the survivors while ministering unto us.
"Scripture tells us:
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day."
"The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads."
So we can throw scripture back and forth and it changes nothing, there is no point which cannot be either proved or disproved by the use of scripture. Mark Twain once remarked, "Not a sparrow falls without his seeing it." Then added, "but what good is that if the sparrow still falls?" Twain was commenting on the paradox of leaning on the God while ignoring what it is that much in life is inevitable. My heart goes out to all the victims families, in the midst of their loss and struggle to be caught up in a whirlwind of a morality play and political theater.
The President comes to town, the arena is set in black bunting and the President begins to speak in lofty platitudes.
"They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders "- representatives of the people answering questions to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns back to our nation's capital. Gabby called it "Congress on Your Corner" - " just an updated version of government of and by and for the people. (Applause.)
And that quintessentially American scene, that was the scene that was shattered by a gunman's bullets. And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday "- they, too, represented what is best in us, what is best in America." (Applause.)
"Not a sparrow falls without his seeing it, but what good is that if the sparrow still falls?" The President is extolling the virtues of American exceptionalism, that only in this country can you meet your representative on the street corner. Ah yes, America is wonderful, because only in America can you meet your congresswoman on the corner and it changes nothing. My insurance agent is a nice guy too but the rates he charges stay the same.
The political narrative is set for the politicians to wrap themselves in the flag, for they are a part of something wonderful, and so are you, you get to watch. The President then pointed out the hero's, you can't tell a story in America without heroes, generally people who for the most part acted instinctively and whose furthest thought was of heroism. My uncle fought four years in the South Pacific he never considered himself a hero. My friend Kenny won a bronze star in Vietnam, the Lieutenant was pinned down in a rice paddy and the sergeant slapped Kenny on the shoulder and said, "go get him!"
"But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized - " at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do - " it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we're talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. (Applause.)
Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, "When I looked for light, then came darkness." Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath."
Excuse me Mr. President, but isn't that what you yourself are doing? Bad things happen? Job? Scripture?
"As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let's 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." (Applause.)
Stock Presidential phrase number one, now is not the time to point fingers. "Let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations" What a great line! It's lofty, and spatial and uplifting and empty. It rises up like a hot air balloon without actually saying anything at all. Just how do you expand your moral imaginations? Drone aircraft attacks? Ignoring unemployment? Expanding Bush's war?
"We may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we're doing right by our children, or our community, whether our priorities are in order.
We recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame - " but rather, how well we have loved -- (applause)-- and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better." (Applause.)