I’ve been quiet so far about the President’s speech and the memorial service, but I’m sufficiently irked by the praise being heaped upon it (praise measured by the Left using the standard of insults to Palin) that I’m not going to be quiet any more.
First, contrary to the hype from both sides of the political spectrum, it was a boring, generic speech. It was the bare minimum from a guy who waited several days to see whether his party’s personal and political attacks (uttered through p0liticians and media types) would gain any traction with the American people. When time showed these attacks to have failed, Obama went in for the platitudes, delivered with his usual mechanical oratory.
Platitudes are not moving or uplifting. There was not a single beautiful, moving, inspiring or memorable phrase. It was like a very long Hallmark card.
I’m also getting sick of the therapeutic mode that always sees political yahoos, including Obama, talking about “healing processes.” The Victorians, bless their little hearts, understood mourning. We’ve reduced that profoundly human, deep emotional process to a passing psychiatric condition.
Second, there are only a few reasons that I can see for the conservative writers and bloggers to be so gaga about the speech, none of them honest: (1) They want to avoid being as mean as the Democrats which, while laudatory, gives a free pass to nothing of a speech; (2) they want to be seen as being open minded, to save themselves for other challenges to the president’s generic civic speeches; or (3) they were so pleasantly surprised that the president backed down from his party’s savagery that anything he said was good compared to their expectations.
Third, the audience’s performance was even more dismal than the President’s. This was supposed to be a solemn memorial, not a rah-rah political rally. That young people, mesmerized by Obama’s presence, were unable to distinguish between the conduct demanded for a serious situation and that for a pep rally is depressing and worrisome. Again, the Victorians handled themselves better. Of course, given that this was a therapeutic occasion, I guess the party attitude spoke to the healing process. [Thoughtful pause.] Yes, I think I got that right.
Fourth and finally, the Yaqui Indian invocation was just wrong. Christians and Jews were injured and died, not Yaqui Indians. You can either honor the religion(s) of the dead and injured or, because this was a Progressive federal occasion, be entirely non-religious. To try a third route, that is, bringing in some religious practitioner from a Native American tribe, is an insult to the dead and their families. Also, believe it or not, it’s an insult to the Yaqui. Why the latter? Because the message is “We’re going to try to get away with as little real religion here as possible, so we’ll use what we, the liberal elite, view as a decorative indigenous people ritual that doesn’t rise to the level of real religion.” Pfui!
I don’t say this last to denigrate those who worship in accordance with Yaqui Indian traditions. As to those people, including the man who gave the invocation (who seemed to worship Mexico as much as his religion itself), I give full respect, and appreciate their desire to practice their true faith. Instead, I say it to denigrate the feel-good liberal buffoons who try to glide past the people’s expectations about religion at a memorial service by trotting out something that those same buffoons don’t take at all seriously. If they did take it seriously, of course, it would violate their obsession with Jefferson’s (not the Constitution’s, but Jefferson’s) throwaway line about the wall of separation between Church and State.
Pardon my venom, but seeing people slobber over the rhetorical equivalent of fat free, sugar free ice cream, all the while pretending that it’s just as good as the real thing, irks me. It irks me mightily.
UPDATE (5:42 p.m. PST): Rob Miller, as always, has something interesting to add, this time about the specious Palin/Obama speech comparisons.
UPDATE (1/14/11, 6:48 p.m. PST): Neo-neocon reminds me that not everyone was swept away by Obama’s speech. Some saw it for the calculated political move it was.