Much has been said about President Obama’s speech at the memorial service for the victim’s of last week’s tragedy in Tucson. Some pundits are speaking of how it exhibits a change in the tide. Roger Ebert said,
I wept. One of the greatest speeches by an American president, ever. I'll link it again. Here is our hope.http://j.mp/encxNE
Time will tell if Ebert was right. I thought the speech was appropriate and effective. There were two points specifically, though, that struck me as very important messages that may have gotten lost in the 34 minutes that he was speaking.
We can question each others ideas without questioning each others love of country
It has long been evident to me that certain people and certain groups think they have the market cornered on patriotism. The President’s message here, though, is one that we need to all hear. Just because we may have differing ideas does not mean that those with whom we disagree have no love for this country. One need not have a long family history of military service to truly love her country. One need not have a long family history of politics to truly love his country. One need need not agree with everything the government does to truly love her country. It is precisely because we love our country that we come up with ways that we think it could be made better. No single political party or religiously affiliated group is any more patriotic than any other.
…our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern.
Many work hard to make their circle of concern smaller, caring only about themselves and those with whom they agree and have much in common. However, we are fellow citizens, not only of America, but of the world. We should be concerned for each others well-being, concerned for their rights. The outpouring of support for the victims of the Arizona tragedy from all across the country and across political lines gives me hope, but it shouldn’t take a tragedy to get us to care about one another.
As Barack Obama said in a previous speech,
We are one people, we are one nation.
As for me, I still think this is the best speech Obama has made, though, granted, he was still a candidate at the time. Instead of quoting it, I’ll let Obama and will.i.am do their thing.