Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two Politicians

It is difficult not to contrast Sarah Palin and Barack Obama and their public responses to the Arizona tragedy. The Tea Party poster girl recorded a message for her facebook page. An angry, defiant message where she painted herself as a victim and spoke, controversially, of being the victim of a 'blood libel'. The President, and the man one suspects she would quite like to replace, spoke to a capacity crowd in a state that hasn't usually welcomed him. He summoned the spirit of the nation, spoke to its soul, and sought to rise above politics with the dignity that he so often manages to achieve in his set-piece speeches. Obama moved; Palin annoyed.

Andrew Sullivan has this comment on Palin's attempt to play the victim. The White House text of Obama's speech is here, and defences of Palin's video are here on right-winger David Frum's site.

Obama caught a mood, again. He invoked scripture, and spoke of the heroism of ordinary people. And this father of two young daughters was at his most passionate when he spoke of 9 year old Christina Green:

Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future... 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.

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