Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

“Words? Just Words”

Kudo's to the President. He delivered a fine speech at the memorial for the fallen soldiers at Fort Hood. It was appropriate and respectful in a muted and almost eloquent way. Not generally terms that I associate with Obama. In fact it was strikingly different from the usual piffle he spouts that is nearly always peppered with self-referential acknowledgments.

Speaking of his taped address at the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, Neo-neocon took him to task today for just that unseemly habit:

As part of his taped address, Obama intoned:

    “Few would have foreseen … that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent.”

I have a bit of a quarrel with the word “led” to refer to what Obama is doing to this country. But of course, it’s never about him—except when it is. The man seems compelled to continually bring his personal history into each and every occasion, even when he can’t be bothered to be personally present.

This afternoon’s speech was actually so uncharacteristic as to give me pause over who the actual author might have been. But for this occasion it doesn’t matter. More important that the correct tone was struck, and the grieving families and troops made to feel that they are not adrift in a sea of political correctness.  And Obama did that. Speaking as America’s Commander-in-Chief he recognized the wanton murder of  the fallen soldiers. His address focused on the points that needed to be emphasized: sorrow for the deaths of 13 fallen soldiers, solace for the survivors, recognition of the exceptional mettle of our troops and the significance of their sacrifices:

Every evening that the sun sets in a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—that is their legacy,”

And a passing but crucial acknowledgement that this was not just the result of some guy who snapped due to pre-traumatic stress disorder:

 “But this much we do know - no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor.”

He didn’t dwell on it, but he also didn’t offer up these fallen souls as sacrifice on the alter of diversity. For that I’m grateful. For that I’m willing to cut him some slack on the delivery, which to me sounded a little too stilted for the the most eloquent speaker in the history of the world. At lease he recognized that this wasn’t the usual political drivel he’s used to. Of course he was uncomfortable.

As Touched With Fire noted: “Maybe it's moments like today, where he had to face the Fort Hood community as Commander-in-Chief, that might help him to grow into the job.”

Maybe they aren’t just words after all.