Being Presidential

If you haven’t already heard, seen, or read it, I commend to you President Obama’s speech regarding the Tucson shootings. It is well-said and strikes the kind of tone that is Presidential in the best sense. While he cannot escape day-to-day battles that are partisan and political, it is good and right to seize this moment to rise above them, to show how even in a time of deep divides, we can have a President of  the United States, not a mere party leader. He rose above partisan politics by reminding Americans of the good and the humanity that unite us. The victims were portrayed for a weeping nation to remember at their best. The heroes who stopped the gunman were recognized for their virtue–something too little praised in its real form. While I didn’t completely understand his first Scripture reference, his use of Job was appropriate and helpful. Job doesn’t give a philosophical explanation for evil but recognizes its existence and its damage. Even beyond the President’s use of the text, Job gives us rest in God’s sovereignty, a power which goes beyond our understanding.  Finally, the speech recognized the limits to politics, that we are more than political beings but parts of families, friendships, cultures and religions which are in many ways beyond regimes but integral to who we are. Such a reminder allows us to care about politics without the evils of making it ultimate. Well done.

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