«Gabby opened her eyes»: President Obamas tale til Tucson og Amerika

    President Obamas tale på gårsdagens minnestund for ofrene av massakren i Tucson var rørende, balansert og inspirerende. Talen, med tittelen «Together We Thrive: Tucson and America”, bør sees i sin helhet.

    Jeg er enig i E. J. Dionne, Jr. og Hilde E. Restads observasjon av at Obama var mer «presteaktig enn politiker-aktig» i talen, og Obama mestret samspillet mellom å være trøstende overfor de etterlatte, prinsippfast, balansert og samlende om et vanskelig tema overfor en splittet nasjon, og inspirerende om veien framover for en nasjon i sorg.

    De som gjentar oppfatningen av at President Obama ikke evner å føle folkets smerte på samme måte som Bill «I feel your pain» Clinton, har ikke sett denne talen, eller hørt den massive applausen fra de 14,000 frammøtte.

    Nedenfor har jeg samlet hovedbudskapet, og gjengir det jeg mener er de beste delene av talen.

    Talen består av tre hoveddeler. Den første omtaler selve hendelsen, og fokuserer på ofrene: hvem var de, hvordan levde de, og hva gjorde de på den skjebnesvangre lørdagen. Den andre tar for seg utfallet av hendelsen, og fokuserer på debatten i etterkant. Den tredje og avsluttende delen samler trådene, og dveler ved den drepte 9-åringen Christina Taylor Greens livslyst, og implikasjonene av å se Amerikas demokrati gjennom et barns øyne.

    Fra første del:

    I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today and will stand by you tomorrow.

    There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: The hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy will pull through.

    Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. Our hearts are broken -– and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness.

    I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. And I want to tell you — her husband Mark is here and he allows me to share this with you — right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues in Congress were in the room, Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. (Applause.) Gabby opened her eyes for the first time. (Applause.)

    Gabby opened her eyes. Gabby opened her eyes, so I can tell you she knows we are here. She knows we love her. And she knows that we are rooting for her through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey. We are there for her.

    These men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle. They remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. Heroism is here, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, all around us, just waiting to be summoned -– as it was on Saturday morning. Their actions, their selflessness poses a challenge to each of us. It raises a question of what, beyond prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward. How can we honor the fallen? How can we be true to their memory?

    Fra andre del:

    … at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized -– at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do -– it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.

    Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

    For the truth is none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

    what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. (Applause.) That we cannot do. (Applause.) That we cannot do.

    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’s 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 that our hopes and dreams are bound together. (Applause.)

    After all, that’s what most of us do when we lose somebody in our family -– especially if the loss is unexpected. We’re shaken out of our routines. We’re forced to look inward.

    … sudden loss causes us to look backward -– but it also forces us to look forward; to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. (Applause.)

    those who were harmed, those who were killed –- they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong.

    If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate — as it should — let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. … The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better. To be better in our private lives, to be better friends and neighbors and coworkers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their death helps usher in more civility in our public discourse, let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy — it did not — but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud.

    Fra den tredje og avsluttende delen:

    They believed — they believed, and I believe that we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved life here –- they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that’s entirely up to us. (Applause.)

    And I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us. (Applause.)

    That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. (Applause.)

    Imagine — imagine for a moment, 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 had been elected to her student council. She saw public service as something exciting and 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 to live up to her expectations. (Applause.) I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. (Applause.) All of us -– we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations. (Applause.)

    Du kan lese hele talen her.

    Til slutt må jeg bare tilføye et sitat fra talen, som med en gang slo meg som et utsagn som kan tolkes politisk med tanke på strengere våpenlovgivning (selv om det selvsagt også kan tolkes ut ifra et ønske om økt fokus på psykisk helse):

    We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future.

    Også her fikk Obama applaus. Det gjenstår og se hvor lenge hendelsene i Tucson preger debatten i amerikanske medier, og hva slags innvirkning Obamas tale har på det politiske klimaet.

    Are Tågvold Flaten
    Are Tågvold Flaten
    Statsviter og redaktør av Programleder av podkastene "Valgkampsirkuset" og "Amerikansk politikk". Forfatter av "Sirkuset - Clinton, Trump og tidenes valgkamp".

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