The Corner

Barack Obama in Tucson

First of all, I’ve had my eye off and on Twitter this evening. Paul Wellstone’s name came up a lot, I see. There was clearly something high-school-pep off-putting about tonight’s memorial, but it was not like Paul Wellstone’s funeral, a disturbingly political-convention-like night.

The president told well the stories of those we lost. He paid tribute to their lives. God bless their families and their souls and him. I loved that. And there is where the applauses for that seemed very appropriate. Wrapped in a great gratitude and celebration of lives.

But about some of his conclusions …

Like President Obama, I, too, believe we each can be better. And I pray I will be. And I suspect many of you pray the same prayer for yourselves. And for the aid of those you love.

And those you struggle to love, too.

But … about some of his comments about America and our democracy and wanting it to be better…

America did not kill these people. America did not put this congresswoman so many Americans have come to treasure in a hospital, fighting for her life.

God bless America. And may every one of us each day come to appreciate her exceptionalism, under God, more.

That said, if the most quoted line is this one, that’s a good thing: “As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility, rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame.”

And, this, too: “If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost.”

And I was grateful for this, partly ad-libbed: “It is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy. It did not.”

Thank you for that, Mr. President.

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