Thursday, January 13, 2011

Collective energy

If you believe in a collective human energy, then what I am going to write about will make total sense to you. If not, well, it won't.

I don't generally listen to political speeches. Not any of them. I prefer to read the words afterward as a way to get the ideas without the emotion. In this case though, I felt the Wednesday memorial service in Tucson was different because I do believe in collective energy and wanted to be part of what I believed would be a positive surge of it.

Everything everyone said who spoke seemed part of a memorial service that truly was meant to heal. Very much I liked how Obama spoke to what had happened, where he put his emphasis, the way he personalized the victims and made us aware of the qualities of the heroes (and there were many that day). He was speaking of the best of who America is, and we needed to hear that at this time. He was working on building that positive energy that I believe in so much.

Although most everyone probably either listened to the speech or read the words, I wanted to pull a few out, ones that I felt most concisely spoke to what is needed now. What he was doing was speaking to our good angels, not our bad ones-- and we all have the bad ones, the times we yield to the inner anger and out it spouts.

So the following were the phrases that I think threaded through his words and that we most can take to heart-- if we want a kind of culture that things like happened Saturday don't happen. Some would say that's a dream. I would say it's about a collective human energy that we can build in positive ways or let deteriorate into chaos. Really it is a choice and it's not just what someone else does. It's what we do in our families, our communities, with our words. Do we build or tear down?
"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, not a way that wounds."

"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."

"If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle."

"And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, 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. It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other’s ideas without questioning each other’s love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations."
These are good words, words right, left and the un-politicized should all take to heart. They are part of building a positive energy that can find solutions to problems that have bedeviled us too long. It is not hopeless and it starts with us wherever we are.

7 comments:

Parapluie said...

Thank you Rain, you quoted the words I wanted to paste up where I could see them.
I also liked how he believed in us. We all have a hero inside us. We also need to be aware of the tireless, brave people who we vote into office. Our self image of who and what we can become as a people was lifted by Obama's speech.

Kay Dennison said...

I thought his words wonderful and they touched the hearts and souls of many of us.

However, those who are prone to imprudent (to put it mildly) speech are still relentlessly carrying on their vile campaign and their toadies are still responding as usual.

Am I being too cynical?

Rain said...

Not from what I have heard, Kay. They are still going on following the leadership that spouts hate because it suits them and their fear won't let them turn another way. I just have to hope there aren't that many of them and that the middle will firmly see what the choice is. The middle is what decides elections.

Rain said...

And the energy we put out will still be a good thing for our country. I truly do believe in that. We can't let ourselves be turned to hate.

Kay Dennison said...

From your keyboard to God's monitor!

Parapluie said...

I liked hearing again that we can all make a difference in being more caring and better people in our families, neighborhoods, and communities. When there are comunication problems within a family, it is important to not point fingers. Expressing yourself by beginning with the phrase, "I feel ..." is a valid path to family understanings. Perhaps it would be a creative moral act to try the same tool for communication with neighbors and bloggers and the advertising sponsors of people we disagree with.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I so agree with you Rain. I thought his words was eloquent and thoughtful in every way. I pray that evrryone who listened to Obama, or read his words, will be moved to be a "better" us!