Thursday, January 13, 2011

Living Up to Our Children's Expectations

President Obama did what he does best in his speech last night. He called on us to lift our sights above the pettiness that pollutes our politics:
But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. 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 us 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 our hopes and dreams are bound together.
Calls for civility after the shooting on Saturday were degenerating into complaints about others not being civil enough. Civility was becoming another club to beat your political opponents with.

Obama finished with a plea to see our country through the eyes of Christina Taylor Green, who was born on September 11th, and was killed in the shooting on Saturday:
She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us – we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.
It was like chastising the rude parents at a little league game for behaving worse than the kids. President Obama used the example of a little girl to urge us all to behave more like grownups.


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