He said nothing about himself or about his own feelings. He focused, laserlike, on lives lost and in jeopardy, and on how a nation must respond to honor those lives. He spoke of a little girl just becoming aware of citizen participation in government,
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 she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations.
He spoke to man’s need for simple answers and solutions; there are none. He spoke to man’s need to find sense in that which is senseless. And then he gave an opportunity to give meaning to that which has no meaning,
…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 our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.
A single violent man created tragedy, and our President is telling us that we can turn that event into a meaningful change of direction for governance of our nation. That choice is ours.
A thought occurred to me as I reflected on what the President said. A lot of men and women have died in the last 200+ years to free this nation and keep it free. They cannot exercise the freedom of speech which they secured for us. We owe it to them to use that freedom responsibly, to use that freedom with the same spirit of generosity that they exhibited in securing it for us.