The Memorial Service in Tucson tonight was interesting for a number of reasons. Among the  preliminary speeches, everyone had a prepared text– except for the evening’s designated hero, UA student Daniel Hernandez. Allegedly, he is gay, but no one has made an issue of that. He alone spoke without a prepared text, and I thought he was pretty eloquent, all things considered.

Next, I was puzzled when Secretary Napolitano’s speech consisted almost entirely of a long reading from the Old Testament — nothing about Homeland Security, nothing remotely political. Anyone could have read it. Then AG Holder followed with a reading, that anyone could have read, from one of St. Paul’s letters in the New Testament. It then dawned on me that the service had taken the form of a Christian church service, in what is sometimes called the “Liturgy of the Word”: first the call to worship, which was delivered by the Yaqui Elder; then the Old Testament Reading (Napolitano), followed by the New Testament reading (Holder). When Obama was introduced next, I knew that he was either going to read the Gospel (and I was interested to know what that might be), or he was going to deliver the Homily (or Sermon). Of course, he got the Homily.

He began not with a quotation from the Gospels, but from some other part of scripture. He then became Cheerleader-in-Chief, as he glorified each person wounded or killed by the gunman — which was a very nice touch. He did so in what seemed to me to be a non-partisan, non-political way.

And then to crown it all off, in appealing to a grander goal, rather than appeal to some grand political slogan (which he could have chosen from the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence), he chose instead to appeal to the hopes of the 9-year-old girl killed in the mayhem: he called on us to live up to her hopes and dreams. This was a bit of genius, it seems to me, although it was an appeal to our naive hopes, rather than to our most sophisticated political ideals. Nevertheless, I thought it was an artful appeal, and a way to dodge any accusation of partisanship.

What caught your attention?

Bob in AZ



Joined the Dean Democrats in 2004 in Arizona; became Organizer, Democracy for America, Honolulu Meetup, after moving to Hawaii;
Secretary, Progressive Democrats of Hawaii. Moved back to Arizona, 2009

I grew up in the Midwest, taught Anthropology at the University of Maryland, Wayne State University, Rice University, Colorado State University, and the College of Ganado; Moved to Arizona in 1987 and worked for the American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center until 2004, when the Center went out of business. Retired in 2009 from my job in Hawaii, moved back to Arizona, and am temporarily teaching anthropology at Northern Arizona University

Hobbies: Family History; also, I play bluegrass music on bass & guitar.