Last night I was watching Pres. Barack Obama’s speech out of Tucson, AZ honoring the people involved in the shootings out there last week. I found his words deeply moving and simply wanted to share some segments that I found most compelling and thought-provoking. What I appreciated most about what he had to say was his call for civility and empathy in both everyday and political discourses. So often, I think we get so caught up in our emotions that we forget for one moment to simply consider another person’s point of view. I know I myself am guilty of this at times. For whatever reason, I’m busy trying to one up the person I’m talking to rather than actually listening to what they have to say. As I reflect on that, I have to ask myself. What’s the point? What purpose does it serve by me doing that? In an honest reflection, the answer makes me squirm, and I’m not too proud of myself. I could argue with myself ad nauseam and rationalize this into the ground. The truth of the matter is that this kind of discourse, wanting to one up the other person, is purely selfish on my part. After watching the events of last week unfold, I cannot help but ask the question of myself, what can I do to change that?
I guess this is one of the reasons why Pres. Obama’s speech had such a strong impact on me. It’s not just this, but it’s also that I find more and more disturbing that people are resorting to violence to resolve issues rather than reasoning with one another heart-to-heart. What kind of example are we leaving our children and the next generation? Even more disturbing is the political rhetoric that is going on in the Congress and with local and national government. What ever happened to common decency, respect, honor and dignity? I just don’t know anymore. I do think, though, President Obama’s speech last night is going to be pivotal in the time to come. But why is it that people always have to die before any meaningful change occurs? This is something I don’t think I’ll ever really understand. Why can’t people just get along? I just don’t get it!
The President raised so many questions that are just begging for answers and much deeper contemplation. When we talk to each other, are we speaking to one another in a way that heals? Are we coming from a place of empathy, putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes for just one moment to understand their side of the story? Are we coming from a place of compassion and wanting to add value to the other person’s life? Are we pausing for just one moment to consider our mortality and shared humanity on the planet Earth? So many great soul-searching questions! We should all give pause to consider carefully, especially on behalf of our children. There’s no escaping the fact that we all enter into and leave this world naked. In the end, we’re all the same, every single one of us!
All I know is that over the last several months, I’ve been so worried that our nation is coming to a point of critical mass. Because of the state of our nation, people are stretched to the max. They’re frustrated, wondering where the next paycheck is coming from and not even sure what the future holds. The state of the economy has left many doing things they never thought imaginable just to keep food on the table, and tensions are high. And the sad thing is, you can feel it everywhere you go. People don’t feel safe anymore, even in their own neighborhoods. It sort of feels like dog-eat-dog. The fact is though, we can have a positive impact, and it’s never too late to change the tide of our civil discourse with one another. Like everything in life it’s a choice. Every day we wake up, we can make a choice to look at people from a place of compassion and love. If we feel like they have wronged us, we can try to temper our reaction, step back and reflect before we respond. We can do it! We really can! For the sake of my son, Ian, I know I can!
So now that I’ve had my rant for the day, here are some of the quotes from the speech that moved me the very most.
President Barack Obama’s words:
“But 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 think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals.”
“But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. That we cannot do. 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 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.”
“We may ask ourselves if we’ve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame — but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people 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. 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.”
“”That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. 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 Christina imagined it. All of us — we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”
Feel free to jump in on the conversation and share your thoughts and ideas with me any time! It’s a wonderful thing looking at fresh perspectives!!
HA!! Fuzzbutt, one of our lil’ foofies just jumped in to add her two cents worth!! LOL I have 7 feline blog editors helping me out!