In a release, which like the memorial service itself, exaggerates the national significance of this weekend’s tragic shootings in Arizona, First Lady Michelle Obama undercuts the President’s message yesterday that the incident had nothing to do with political rhetoric:
[I]t makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up. the days and weeks ahead, as we struggle with these issues ourselves, many of us will find that our children are struggling with them as well. The questions my daughters have asked are the same ones that many of your children will have – and they don’t lend themselves to easy answers. But they will provide an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons – about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away.
We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way – whether it’s by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.
We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.
We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.
Like her husband, on the public stage they both play to the middle while wink winking at their allies on the left, allies who in this case libeled the president’s political opposition. Just as the President telephoned Sheriff Dupnik and greeted him warmly before the speech, even though Dupnik was instrumental in spreading the “climate of hate” rhetoric. His wife subtly suggests in her message that heated political rhetoric led to the violence in Tucson.
If her children — or yours, for that matter — ask about what she calls “these issues”, tell them the truth: There are some seriously disturbed people in this world who unfortunately sometimes cause mayhem. Some, perhaps many, could benefit from medical treatment. They are unlikely to seek it themselves, but there are laws to get them examined to see if they need treatment and some people in Tucson, including apparently Sheriff Dupnik, unfortunately failed in their obligations to do that.