Mike Barnicle: In Dallas, President Obama Met the Moment

obama-dallas-memorial

He spoke to what is best in us, when we needed to hear about it.

by Mike Barnicle

Here he was on another American afternoon, standing on a stage in front of a grieving crowd and a troubled nation and with his words, his mere presence, a look, a pause, a phrase, he made all the politics we have endured for months appear small and insignificant. He is Barack Obama, President of the United States, and yesterday, again, he spoke for those who rise each day in silence and anonymity to go about their day in a country that needs to be reminded that division will never destroy the dream that is America.

“I’m here to insist that we are not so divided as we seem. I say that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds. I know we’ll make it because of what I’ve experienced in my own life.”

He was in Dallas because of gunshots in the night, gunshots fired by a racist, gunshots thatkilled five police officers and broke another piece of a nation’s troubled heart. It is a wearying event, the pause in a president’s calendar to memorialize the moment, honor the dead, reflect on the meaning of the lives lost and give voice to a loss so large that some of the living will never truly get over it.

His voice seemed a mix of exhaustion and frustration. He has hugged, consoled and cried with so many parents who have lost children, wives who have lost husbands, many of whom wore the uniform of our country or a badge or carried a backpack full with school books. The list is long and sad and often inexplicable. It numbers casualties of a war fought now 15 years; those dead who were swallowed by the street, by the violence that haunts so many specific neighborhoods isolated by neglect and tormented by those among them who prey on the innocent and the vulnerable, much of it fueled by the total insanity and cowardice of a political system afraid to require potential gun buyers to pass a background check you’d need to drive a school bus or be a Little League coach.

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast