reflection on the President's speech Wednesday was very good, very helpful--for me, anyway. Responding to the President's goal "to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations," he said
To attempt to live up to your children's expectations—to hew to the ideals you espouse and the morals that you lay down for them—is to guarantee a life of constant failure, a failure equivalent with parenthood itself. Surely this is something that the father of Malia and Sasha Obama knows all too well. Choking up at one point, imagining the Taylor-Greens' loss, it seemed to me, in terms of his own unimaginable bereavement, Obama was figuring himself (extraordinarily, I think) not as the Great Father but, more messily and searchingly, as an imperfectly lowercase father, "shaken from [his] routines ... forced to look inward," struggling in the wake of calamity to reclaim and to strive to measure up to a set of principles the burden of whose observance falls so unevenly on the narrow shoulders of the young. He was, at that moment, talking directly to me.
Lovely, is it not?
I was also moved by this transcript describing Rep. Giffords opening her eyes for the first time after being shot.
In the realm of rhetoric, I liked this reflection by Conor Friedersdorf on Tone vs. Substance.
The strongest case against these people isn’t that their rhetoric inspires political violence. It’s that they frequently utter indefensible nonsense...They’re in a tough spot these days partly because it’s impossible for them to mount the defense of their rhetoric that is true: “I am a frivolous person, and I don’t choose my words based on their meaning...Don’t you see that this is all a big game? This is how politics works. Stop pretending you’re not in on the joke.”
In the "correlation is not causation" department, I got a kick out of this graph showing how the rate of assault has decreased dramatically since the release of Grand Theft Auto. The accompanying article does not, however, suggest GTA as a means of reducing assault. It does say we should stop and give thanks for the improvement of the quality of life (overall) that this graph suggests.
Meanwhile, Tunisia...wow. The President has stepped down. The revolution apparently will be televised. The link above includes live video footage. Here's a brief video from the BBC:
Prayers for Tunisia continue.