Obama Calls for a New Era of Civility in U.S. Politics

The president offered the nation’s condolences to the victims of the Tucson shooting rampage, urging Americans to usher in a new era of civility in memory of the fallen.

Comments: 125

  1. The contrast between President Obama's comments and those of Sarah Palin's couldn't be more evident - Obama sought to unite while Palin continues to divide.

    Unfortunately, Palin lacks the intellectual and emotional depth to fully understand how her actions and words have contributed to stoking the fears of a fraught and struggling nation.

    I don't know what I find more disconcerting - the idea that she deliberately invoked the blood libel phrase knowing that Congresswoman Giffords is Jewish; or whether she is so intellectually challenged that she simply doesn't understand the ignorance of that remark.

    Palin clearly suffers from some type of narcissistic personality disorder; however, the fact that she released this video on a day that should have been reserved for memorializing the victims is simply unforgivable.

  2. President Obama's speech was in very good taste, in fact, I don't see how it could have been improved. I just hope FOX & Sarah Palin listened & realize that there is no place for their inflammatory rhetoric & distortions in American politics.

  3. We need to find out how we failed, as a society, to prevent this tragedy. It appears that there were ample warning signs that this guy needed help. Is it our timidity that lead to this? Had he been confined, this would never have happened. Why do we let people like him to wander the streets? Could our laws be at fault? These may need to be changed. Or, to paraphrase Archie Bunker, "Would you feel any better if he used a knife to kill these innocent people?"

  4. He's an inspiring leader.
    An old republican guy

  5. "If there are rain puddles in heaven..." This felt like Obama's "touch the face of God" moment.

  6. I'm not a delirious fan of this President but the voters got it right in 2008. Yes, elections have consequences... and to think the Sarah Palin we saw yesterday would be a heartbeat away from the button should give the entire electorate pause.

  7. He is not fit to make any comment, he created all these chaos, the most rhetoric of all, called the other party 'enemy', 'hostage taker', even 'dogs'...

  8. Civility--that's exactly what I was talking about to my peers. I'm glad our President Obama is on point with this.

  9. As we, citizens and politicians alike, must strive for a more civil tone in our discourse, so should our news outlets. When I studied journalism in school, objective reporting of facts in a news story was top priority. Any less was considered "yellow dog" journalism. Today, sadly enough, it appears that sensationalism and titillation rule the print/broadcast world. How else to explain why someone like Sarah Palin gets front page coverage during such a national tragedy as this? Bravo, President Obama, for reminding us that we can indeed do better.

  10. We have automatic machine guns, mad men, misguiding and misguided men.
    We witness also brave husbands use their own bodies and lives to protect
    and save their wives. Love is triumphant and lasting; hate is short lived.

  11. I'm with him...I mourn for the loss of life, I hope we can reach out to the survivors, and I promise, personally, to conduct political discussions with respect and civility. I was proud of the President tonight. I don't know if he spoke for all of us, but he certainly spoke for me. Let's hope this is the start of a new day.

  12. Great speech, just what the country needed to hear. Compare his speech to Sarah's and it's obvious to everyone that the right person is running the show.

  13. The President was flawless in content and tone. Unfortunately, those who hate him are unreachable.

  14. Now that we have the House of Representatives divided politically, Obama is motivated to call for civility and bipartisanship.

    But Barack Obama, talking tough in 2008 about how he would deal with Republican attacks, himself said, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. ... Folks in Philly like a good brawl."

    In 2010, Obama called on Hispanics to join him and "punish our enemies."

    Obama did not appear to be practicing what he is preaching now. Is that called inconsistency or hypocracy? We should expect better from Obama.

  15. The President has demonstrated a flawless consistency throughout his career of public service. He is first and foremost a humanist and his vision, one which he fortunately has the intelligence and the skill to communicate, provides both solace and direction at trying times like this. He is able to do so because his message is crystal clear, because it is sensible, but above all because of his relentless, and well founded, optimism. President Obama should make all Americans proud. He embodies the ongoing promise of their great social experiment - one which has yet to realize its full potential but one which stubbornly refuses to surrender in the fight for a final and decisive victory against ignorance and hatred.

  16. I was extremely moved by his speech, which I believe was sincere and earnest. We all must be better role models for our children to build a stronger country. Civility, discourse, and the ability to agree to disagree is why we are still a shining beacon for other countries that face political repression, injustice, and violence on a daily basis. This should be considered one of the great American speeches and one which we as citizens desperately need to hear. He is not a perfect president, as we are not perfect citizens. There is much we as citizens can and should do to support the positive change we would like to see in this country. It is not only up to Obama to make it happen. It is also our responsibility to make this country the good place we envision it to be.

  17. How can you gloss over hate speech the way Obama did? Partisan bickering, recriminations?? What has been going on is far more than that. Why is our president afraid to call it for what it is? Hate speech incites and violent language is much more than partisan denunciation. And for Sarah Palin to use the term "blood libel" shows a total ignorance of the meaning of the term, which was an accusation against Jews that they killed a Gentile child and used his blood to make matzos. Does she know at all what she is talking about or does anything go as long as you can make your critics wrong??

  18. The authors, HELENE COOPER and JEFF ZELENY, capture the eloquent tone and insightful speech given by President Obama, and contrast it starkly with the egotistical trashy response from Palin. What sharper example do we need of how wise the voter choice was in 2008 of an Obama-Biden leadership over McCain-Palin?

    Let us all remember this leadership quality as time goes on, and urge our representatives in Congress to support more strongly his visions, so that we do not have to see Obama compromise so drastically the agenda we voted on in 2008.

  19. After listening to his speech tonight, I realize now why our nation elected him as our President. He could not have done a better job in framing a tragic situation in a way that encourages everyone to take pause and reflect on what we've become.

    Good luck with your next six years in office, Mr. President!

  20. Perhaps a child shall lead.

  21. I watched the President speech right after watching Palin's video and the contrast is indeed great. I knew about her "blood libel" comment and I knew it was coming in her video but it stilled jarred me a ton when it actually occurred. For her to claim that the criticism she has received in these last days is somehow equivalent to centuries old anti-semitic lie that was deliberately used to incite violence and murder against Jews is both self-centered and very offensive on her part. Many Jews died over several centuries because of the Blood Libel lie. As far as I can tell Sarah Palin is still very much alive and enjoying her right to free speech despite all the criticism she's been receiving.

    President Obama, in his speech, was warm, conciliatory, and humble. He tried to unite everyone rather than get defensive and cast blame around. He also didn't point fingers, and, most tellingly, he didn't cast himself as a victim, neither did he try to score political points off of anyone. The contrast between the two speeches (and speakers) really could not have been greater.

  22. Actions speak louder than words. First we must behave more respectfully and deferentially toward our adversaries-----the words will follow.

  23. What does civility in US politics have to do with a mentally deranged gunman murdering innocent people?

  24. I watched the President speak tonight and I thought his remarks were more appropriate than those of Reagan after the Challenger or Clinton after the Oklahoma City bombing. He's a class gentleman. JFK would say "How'd you do that?

  25. the next election will be determined in a large part by the difference between those who bought the act the democrats have put on since the shooting hit the news and those who did not.

  26. Thank you, Mr. President. It was a much needed speech and an excellent show of empathy, respect and leadership. It inspires us to look at ourselves and our own actions more critically and humbly before casting stones at others -- while striving to be better citizens. Thank God for intelligence and well reasoned logic from SOMEONE in Washington, D.C.

  27. I see no one has posted. I don't min being the first to offer an opinion. I voted for Mr Obama, I like him a lot. I think what happened tonight was good. The right thing to do. But my Soul is old...I have seen quite a bit.....this will only quell things temporarily. I will not name names, but, tonight, there was an admixture of people there. To claim ground. Moral.

    I went to Gettysburg College, and, besides studying the Civil War under Bruce Bugbee, I know a lot about History and Philosophy. Not just American.

    I really think America will be split in two....soon....within twenty years.

    I hope the NYTimes publishes my remarks...I am not against anybody...I was born here....ten miles from where I write...but...people need to think about this.

  28. Who can say, but I doubt that a lack of societal civility contributed much at all to causing this shooting. Civility is always welcome, but so is vigorous political debate. Democracy isn't for the squeamish.

  29. Perhaps the New York Times might consider leading the way by ceasing their biased journalism (if it can be called that with any integrity). I hold the NYT responsible for starting the fire that began this hateful rhetoric in the first place that somehow speculated that Palin should be tied to the possibility of a serial murderer in Arizona. The NYT asserted this notion and they are the ones who should issue an apology in my opinion.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if the NYT aren't brought under a lawsuit.

  30. However one feels about his policies, this evening was the reason why Obama is (and should be) the President of his country. His maturity, eloquence, and poise, combined with the respect and dignity he showed the victims of the massacre managed to unite the country in a very divisive time.In my opinion, so far this has been his finest hour.

    P.S. To Mott (#9) from Cape Cod: bless your heart!

  31. The speech appeared to be another political event. I had to keep telling myself I was watching a memorial service because it certainly sounded like a campaign stop to me. Sarah Palin was vicously slandered and libeled throughout the weekend and not one media outlet has had the decency to apologize. What about the damage to her children and her family. Her kids are innocent and I doubt they were okay with their mother being accused of causing someone's murder.

  32. I have rarely seen the dignity, class, and eloquence of President Obama in other politicians or presidents throughout my many decades of life in these United States. The grayness in his hair, the extra lines in his young face only underscore the tough job he has, the daily struggles and challenges his job entails; yet, throughout it all, he digs deep and comes up with further graciousness that shows his inner quality. You could see the sadness in his eyes, particularly when he spoke of little Christina. This man speaks for me, represents the humanity I hope to foster further within myself. This man is our leader, and for that, I am glad and proud.

  33. The President is correct in his admonition that we tone down the insults and Mrs. Palin is also correct that she and her family have been and are being libeled on a daily basis. She and to some degree her husband are public figures and are fair game. That said her minor children are not. Yet Liberal "Comedian" Kathy Griffin just announced that it was "her new years resolution to trash Willow Palin in 2011 as she had already trashed every other Palin". This news flash leaves one speechless at several levels. What sort of person would earn a living by assaulting a child and what sort of people would pay to hear someone do it? Surly This is what the President had in mind today when he asked people to tone it down and if not it should be.

  34. On this night, this man spoke to the angels in us. May those angels help heal the anger in our nation and our hearts.

  35. Mr. Obama could not have struck a more perfect chord in his speech. But the voices on the right who can only achieve economic and political domination of the United States by ruining it have no other instrument they can use to achieve their aims except to monger hate and fear.

    The right can't argue civilly because they have no argument. They can only manipulate the emotions of uninformed with lies.

    Mr. Obama is right, as are the good-hearted people in our country who were touched by his speech. But his enemies -- and ours -- are not going to play fair suddenly. They've already said as much.

    If you personally are able to influence someone who is under the sway of right-wing media and somehow counteract that poison in them, that is the best thing you can do for our country at this crucial moment in our history.

  36. This is a time when many difficulties are accumulating, far more than most people have yet to realize. And our fate likely rests on our ability to respond well and respond promptly. While a energetic and creative exchange of ideas will lift us, a destructive clash of ideas will sink us. If this sad tragedy can help bring us together at this time, then these good people will not have died in vain.

  37. Civility is _not_ silencing our voices. Civility is providing a safe space to speak truth to power in respectful language.

    The Right not only employs rhetoric of violence and guns, but calls upon people to act. It works. Both are facts. If we can't confront this then we're worse off than we started; we give them permission to incite violence without consequences.

  38. The President, in this moment, was exactly the leader he said he would be at the Democratic Convention in 2004 and during the 2008 campaign

    the times are incredibly tough, Obama is not perfect but, as he showed again tonight, he is a remarkable man - there can't be much honest doubt that the people made the right choice

    btw the "Teleprompter President" rode the moment beautifully - the planned 16-18 minute address went 34, with not a false note - for me, it felt a little raucous but in hindsight the tone, without being disrespectful to the victims, was exactly right for a city battered for a week and for a country beaten down for a lot longer than that

  39. Obama's speech was so touching I cried, especially considering Giffords opened her eyes after his visit. Not a coincidence.

    His sincere message was such a striking contrast to Palin's vitriolic, defensive, narcissistic video. I'm so glad she's not in ANY office. At this turning point in history, I'm thankful we have humble, humanistic leadership.

  40. As the President addressed Tucson and the nation, I cried-- for the loss of lives, for the loss of humanity and civility, and the loss of what this country has stood for. President Obama spoke with eloquence, gentle passion and the feeling that so many of us have-- to return to what makes this country good and great. His homage to those that died, his heartfelt prayers for the survivors were from his heart and surely from all those who shared his words and the grief of the nation.

    The need for gun control is so very obvious and it must start with that issue. The hate engendered by Sarah Palin and her followers is frightening. And this terrible tragedy is exactly a result of the kind of morality she preaches. Yes, this man is deranged, but he clearly worked from that agenda.

    Let us hope , fervently, that our elected officials will act with the same kind of passion and commitment the President asked of all of us. Let us put a stop to this violence, and be secure in the knowledge that laws have been put in place allowing only those who protect the public bear the arms deemed necessary to secure our safety.

  41. Unfortunately, the strutting egoists on Capitol Hill, such as Schumer, and the enormous egos of radio, Levine and Savage, and the pseudo-intellectual O'Reilly, the totally insane Olberman and the blithering Ed Something, both at msnbc, will never stop their attempts to gin up the divisiveness, it gives the Schumers more camera time, and the rest get ratings, which equal dollars. All of them have sold their souls in their attempts to raise the bar on divisiveness, and all have sought warfare, for it gets them ratings. When O'Reilly called for the "beheading" of a liberal writer, the Rubicon was crossed. As a Conservative American, I am ashamed at myself first, and then hope that our country is done with these no-talents. Do you think any one of them would actually say, "I am sorry"? Of course not. It wouldn't be good for ratings. Their works follow them forever, and they will wear the results on their souls. If they have one.

  42. My love and heart felt sympathy to Tucson. We are all Americans, and do feel your pain and your love. You all inspire me, yet don't surprise me, because we are Americans, and when we show our true selves, we are good. Your little big town inspires me and my prayers are with all of you. Through turmoil and pain your light shines bright. All my love and respect, Ellen

  43. Obama wants to talk about civility in politics? Well why doesn't he stop pointing his finger when speaking at a podium. Every single speech he gives he uses his finger continuously which reeks of aggressiveness. The basics of public speaking say that this is not appropriate and most certainly not presidential.

  44. Our President reminded us what is required of us to do good in a time that demands it. The question is can we do it? For my part, I will follow his leadership.

  45. Oh please! Sympathy! Condolences! Yes.

    But also please! People, dial back on the rhetoric.

    This is not a political event. Some crazy guy reached out to his representative of the people and the representative treated him just like they treat every one else. Ignored him.

    He was a nut so took offense and went with what he knew--Glock 9--to an event that would have a lot of people.

    This is not a political event except in the mind of all the overpoliticized readers of the NYT and a few folks who would like to keep it going for their own personal aggrandizement.

    This is a phychiatric event! It's what you get every once in a while when you have 300 million people in a country very polarized.

    Hey! I'm serving lemonade on Sunday. Democrats and Republicans invited. Check your guns at the door.


  46. And once again the President's mild, reasoned speech is called hate-filled rhetoric by the right. I don't understand what planet these people seem to have come from where they are the aggrieved, slandered, reasoned part of the equation. I just do not understand what convoluted wiring in their brains leads them to believe with all their being that they are the reasoned and rational side - while liberals, particularly the President, are vicious and hateful.
    I listen to a lot of what Obama and Democrats say, and I simply do not hear hate. I listen to a lot of what the Right, Republicans and Tea Party says and I do hear irrational hate.

  47. "Obama Calls for a New Era of Civility in U.S. Politics"

    does this call for Civility apply to all of the false accusations directed toward Sarah Plain, Rush Limbaugh and others on the right, by the NYT and others on the left in the days since the shooting? Personally I have never seen such a torrent of invective and hate being spewed out by people on the left . The unsupported accusation attempting to smear Ms. Palin and link her with this shooting , made me ashamed to be an American. the president's speech did not succeed in healing the wounds caused by the left in the past few days. His speech only covered up a festering wound. I reject his call for civility unless it includes an apology because what I really think he means id : stop disagreeing with me and my agenda.

  48. Dear Sarah, come out come out wherever you are. Two statements by Ms. Palin, one to Glenn Beck, one from facebook, how on earth does she, or her supporters expect to be taken seriously.

  49. “Only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation.”
    — President Obama in Tucson
    Up to the above sentiments I believe the president delivered a poignant inspiring speech. The first responders and those who wrestled with the killer deserve our praise and gratification. What's done is done and cannot be undone. But all I ask is to question Obama and have him express his reasons for calling for a more civil and honest debate. Here he is coming close to accusing the recent election time debate as a co conspirator of the killer. Mr. Obama now must cite specifically what he sees as a lack of civility and lack of honesty and how and if he believes these election discourses contributed the disaster in Tucson if this is what he is alluding to. How does the president propose to judge what's correct civility and honesty in the political debate? We also deserve the same respectful eulogy for those killed in Ft Hood massacre. What has he called for to possibly reduce the cause of the racist attack by Maj. Hasan. There were heroes at the Fort and good people died that day and many were wounded. Did their Commander in Chief honor them as well as those who suffered at Tucson? Were there clues to the behavior of the Arizona killer as there were to the Ft. Hood killer which were grossly ignored and not acted upon. Why were they ignored. That tragedy was preventable the one at Tucson was not.

  50. The only civil moment in the president's spech is when he choked up about the victim Christina, that I will give him.

    Our country is too far gone with everyone's, me, me, me attitude here. Illegals will continue to drain our system, guns will be a way of communicating anger and the politicians all have their own agenda not to keep the US citizens safe from happenings like this.

    Think hard of all the incidents with people being gunned down, colleges, malls, a hospital, schools. My disgust runs deep.

    Rhetoric after rhetoric.

    America is a mess and civility, quality of life is failing fast.

  51. Let this not be a forgetful moment such as Columbine, the OK bombing, and the VA Tech shootings. Let this be a lesson from which we can learn. I am sad the electorate needs a wake-up call so often. While the eulogy was gracious and the delivery heartfelt, Obama missed the opportunity to court, foster, and encourage the open debate and transparency necessary for a democracy and that in this incident of a open community meeting was ironically shattered by the rash, foolish, and fanatical behavior by that one not unlike many who hold on to their beliefs so strongly and so closely that it clouds their rational, logical and well-reasoned judgments.

  52. To take his message to heart a week from now will be the test. It will take more than making nice with each other. We will have to consider those with whom we disagree as worthy opponents. And worthy opponents will have to become worthy; i.e., they will and we will have to make sure we have our facts straight and are not getting all our information from and reactions to Fox. It will be hard work to educate ourselves well enough to spot misinformation and manipulation, hyperbolic rhetoric, and freighted symbols. Democracy is hard work; good information does not come easy. And sometimes we have to read material that doesn't fit our already made-up positions. May I suggest WSJ, NYT, Economist, Foreign Affairs Journal, Washington Post ... These are a good start and most are on line and easy to access.

  53. Palin is disgusting and the Democrats are dishonest. They have to face their own bigotry problems.
    When you have a Democrat shot by someone on the left (nuts or not), the first thing is not to blame the right, but to look inside.
    Giffords is Jewish and it seems logical to look at the blatant antisemitism on the left first. It's dishonest to declare that when the right incites - it's dangerous, but when the left incites - it's not.
    Hate is hate - whether it's coming from Beck or Mike Malloy, from Fox or Pacifica, from Beck or Answer rallies.

  54. One commenter here asked what "civility" had to do with the shooting. Let me explain it. Conservatives, and particularly Palin are using an old trick. They say that because they were not totally responsible for the shooting (i.e. "pulled the trigger") then they have NO responsibly for the shooting. That is simply not true.

    By creating an environment of hate and intolerance they immersed the already disturbed killer in a sea of hate and violent images, and in doing so contributed to his state of mind. It is true they did not pull the trigger, but whether their contribution to the shots fired was 1% or .01%, they DO share in the responsibility.

  55. This was Obama's best speech so far. America is blessed to have him as our President. Sarah Palin, on the other hand missed, an opportunity with her extremely poor choice of words. As Obama said, we all need to take a good look at our own lives. Do we know troubled people who may need help? If so we need to reach out and speak up. Knee jerk solutions such as banning guns or yearly mandatory mental health exams are not the answer. Elevating our own consciousness is what we need to strive for.

  56. WE CAN BE PROUD TO BE AMERICANS with Barack Obama as President of the United States... God Bless America!

  57. Excellent speech, Mr. President.

    But something just didn't seem right with the audience's applauses. Especially when mentioning Phyllis Schneck sewing aprons with the logos of the Giants and the Jet, and then hearing the sudden rumble of a would be applause that quickly subsided. What exactly was the audience there for? A memorial or entertainment?

    The deep reflection our country needs right now should not be cheering spectacle. Such feel-too-good reactions are what we really need to avoid to make this country a better place.

  58. Isobel (first comment) says it all, and in very civilized language.

  59. Our President is far from perfect, and this supporter is in the less than enthusiastic group at the moment. That said, he set the right tone tonight. As for Sarah Palin's classless & pathetic display of selfishness, in releasing her self-promoting, pity me the victim video on a day when so many came together to grieve and find solace amongst fellow mourners, I can only shake my head in disgust and despair.

    This woman's conceit is such that she actually believes the world is anxiously awaiting her every utterance. I am so weary of her and her groupies. Their constant, insulting, mean, nasty invective is beyond boorish and tiresome. It's hurtful - whether directly connected to the tragedy in Tucson or not. She's long ago worn out her welcome. Please Sarah, go back to Wasilla. I'm sure there's some defenseless animal to shoot or fish to beat to death. In the meantime, please, have the decency to just shut up.

  60. I hope that Obama addresses on his own inconsistencies when he states, "if they bring a knife, we bring a gun." Or, perhaps Obama could call on his allies to apologize for falsely blaming Palin, Limbaugh, Beck and Fox News for supposedly inciting this mad man to violence when it is now determined that the crazed man was apolitical, didn't watch news or affiliate with any political party.

  61. Obama has no moral authority to talk in this matter. His rhetoric pits left vs the right, like it is some kind a war.He speaks of enemies,guns and knife fighting, punishing the enemies. Whose butt is he going kick.
    That was a classy statement coming from the president, Not.
    He was going to be this great leader who will unite America. He has no idea how to lead, or how to govern. He held his Obamacare meetings in private with his democratic minions planing in secret. Not on C-span like he said they would be open for all to see, and the bill will be on the web for 3 days for all the world to see. I must have missed it.
    They say he is a great speaker, I can't stand to listen to him speak, he whistles every time he says a word with a S in it.
    Palin/Newt Gingrich for president/vice president in 2112. Those two will get this mess cleaned up. The big mess that Mr. Obama and the democrats in congress made of this country over the last five years.
    Shame on you democrats for making this a political debate, shame on you. Palin would not have to say a word if so called "journalists" diden't start pointing fingers at people who had NOTHING to do with this, Nothing at all. Sad thing is they started within two hours, long before anyone knew what the facts were.
    I think each and every one of you, who point the blame at innocent people owe them an apology.
    Shame on you. All of you, shame, shame, shame, on you.

  62. Why do people have to understand or learn why we fail and this terrible thing happened. Fact is no one failed and it is easy to understand. The guys was stark raving mad. The Sheriff diverted attention away from his failure by making this political.
    Obama came to a memorial service and made it into a political rally. He said all of the right things but then messed up and went way beyond what he needed to say.

  63. President Obaaama Is a wonderful leader. He has actaually adressed the thoughts and wishes of the world with his his address in Arizona.
    He has a hugh job,and does it well, but wonderfulluy can show he is human and can hurt like all of us.
    I love him in his abiliy to remain on top and with the people in spite of the dreadfu problems one may acost as leader of the strongest nation.

  64. I think we need to be careful when we say things like "maybe he should have been confined" or maybe laws need to change. People need to remember that each one of us is capable of inflicting massive harm to other people. Each of our wars and the most famous Psychology experiments have shown that even the most docile people can turn into an SS killing machine in a manner of days.

    Are we supposed to jail and prosecute anyone that's depressed, mentally handicapped or has even the slight potential of committing a crime? The truth is that most people with the killer's violent tendencies don't act out on it. And the truth is that many sane people "snap" under great pressure and cause much harm before anyone is even aware of the potential. How can the laws be amended to reflect this? Are looking to imprison people for thought crimes? Orwell would have something to say about that one.

  65. President Obama did not 'try' to occupy a space outside of partisanship or agenda. He did it, most admirably in my opinion.

  66. Agree with President Obama"s direction and his tone quite moving especially in returning the focus to recovery of such a traumatic event and purpose of the ceremony. Yet the setting haunting "pep rally" as though guilt, blame, shame, and false pride expressed vicariously. My condolence to the love ones of the victims, the healing victims, to all of us and a safe way to recover.

  67. This was not a memorial to those who died, it was a just another pep rally for the democrats who worship at the altar of O.

  68. How about a new era of 'getting stuff done' in politics?

  69. Some think that the GOP and Palin are getting a bad rap. But consider:

    The GOP and Palin are constant critics of the federal government (e.g., "It's YOUR money!" and any number of other vague, unexplained, unspecific gripes about "the government"). Giffords works for the federal government.

    The GOP and Palin are supporters of absolute, open-ended rights to gun ownership. Giffords and the other victims were wounded or killed with a non-hunting type gun.

    Palin, one-half of the losing ticket in 2008, who quit the Alaska governor's job later on, and who, far as we know, is not and may not be a candidate/nominee for any elected office in the future, portrays current office holders and recent office seekers as gun "targets" on her web-site. And the GOP leadership, apparently still thinking Palin to be of some value, says and does nothing to dissuade her.

    The bad rap is justifiable.

  70. Obama has been a proponent of civil rhetoric the whole time. This is characteristic and noble of him.

  71. A fine effort by President Obama to seek, yet again, a civil discourse even in political disagreement. On this, at least, Mr. Obama has been consistent and perserverent. We can be patriots and disagree about policy, but we cannot intimate the murder of our fellow countrymen. Sarah Palin went beyond the limit on that, and now she is on the defensive.

    Instead of apologizing for her obvious error (we all make errors) Sarah Palin, in stark contrast to President Obama, chose again the strategy which put her on the defensive in the first place: "Don't retreat, reload". There is a time for wise reflection and even apology, and a time to hold ones ground. Sarah Palin has shown again she doesn't know one from the other.

    I am another old Republican and I'm pleased Sarah is increasingly isolated.

  72. I didn't see the speech. I don't have television coverage ever since the stations went "off the air" a year and a half ago. It's a blessing because I am not bombarded with nasty, negative political ads.

  73. History is filled with conflct. I don't think there has been a time in all of history there hasn't been conflict. If we, as a country, just go back to WWII to the present - it's a wonder we are even here. As all great persons, President and Mrs. Obama have attempted to wipe the tears from America's face - as a good father would.

  74. Civility is not a notion that the likes of Palin or Limbaugh are interested in. They speak to a resentful segment of the society that feels disoriented by the changes around them. They understand how to manipulate the feelings of their intellectually unsophisticated audience. The GOP leadership, on the other hand, understands that its return to power hinges on the frustration of the masses and welcomes the emotional stirs of incivility. Palin may have no idea what blood libel means or stands for, but whoever wrote her speech probably does.

  75. Say what you will about the game of politics... but it does not apply here. This was a call to improve as people and as a nation. To honor those that have fallen and be grateful for those that survived is truly an inspirational message.

  76. His speech was a "very Presidential moment". Exactly the catalyst needed to start the dialog moving in the right direction.

  77. I hope Pima County Sheriff was present or listening to Obama talk of "civility", since it was he who announced the news of the shooting in one sentence and in the next blamed it Democrats' political foes, especially those who supported Arizona's tough immigration law.

    This claptrap is nothing but a maudlin attempt by Democrats to silence their critics.

    Coming next in the fight for civility: Democrat attempts to constrain free speech, at least as it regards Glenn Beck and Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing pundits.

  78. This was a beautiful speech. I hope we can forge a country and a democracy that meets our childrens' expectations and tone down the blame and ad homonym attacks that so often accompany disagreement. Barack Obama is still a beautiful speaker and powerful leader. I hope and pray that he makes the decisions that will lead our country forward.

  79. Way to see a lot of you commenters here still not getting it. But then again, setting the "example" little Christina sought is obviously well beyond your reach.
    Bravo President Obama.

  80. Thank you Mr. Obama. This was the president I -- we -- voted for.

  81. The two great things about today. Obama's consiliatory tone today shows the depth of maturity he has in bringing the country together and honouring the dead and injured for all America.

    The other great thing was Sara Palin showing the country how narsacistic she is on a day that should about the victims of the shooting and not about her.

    If America cannot heed the lesson of this sorry tradgedy then you are doomed to repeat it.

  82. I know that this will sound cruel but a memeber of the House of Representatives is simply that a Representative of the people.

    We have placed our government on a pedestal and they are acting that way. They do not do what we want but what they believe is better.

    If you are going to shut down the government for a week in this case, what do we do when Columbine or Virginia Texh happens?

    My prayers go out to everyone involved in the Arizona shooting, but if the total country does not shut down our Representatives, the majority of whom just finished a two week vacation, should be at work.

  83. As an Independent of moderate/centrist persuasion who once supported Mr. Obama, I find his call to bipartisanship quite ironic.

    His first two years in office were characterized by some of the worst partisanship I have ever seen. He and the Democrats in congress, in their extremist rush to follow a semi-socialist path embraced an extremely flawed plan to reform health care. Their recent push to allow openly homosexual men and women to serve in the military is another example of how they would strive to 'engineer' our society into their brave new world.

    I take no delight in the fact that this past extremism of the left has resurrected a disgraced extremism on the right. I was hoping for enough wisdom from Mr. Obama to pursue a centrist path from the beginning. Sadly, for me and very many Independents this was not the case and it explains the last election outcome, for those with the (bipartisan) eyes and brain to see.

    For the radicals and extremists of the far left, those at the 'base' of the Democratic Party? You share just as much responsibility for the present uncivil and violent discourse as those on the far right. A pox on both their houses.

  84. How strange and horrible it must feel for the victims and their surviving families to see something so personal get so politicized.

    This shooting was about an insane person (who by the way the system did not find a way to stop, despite a lot of warnings) who happened to target a Congresswoman. If he had been obsessed with film he might have targeted a celebrity; with sports he might have targeted a football coach. The point is much less about who he targeted than the fact that he targeted someone cause he was nuts. As a citizen I am less worried about better discourse and more worried that it seems our institutions are sufficient at protecting us from folks like this guy. That's the problem I would like some effort against.

    Yet so many people - and I put Obama and Palin in the same bucket because they are doing the same thing - have tried to exploit this. People were hurt, people died. Now they are pawns for our flailing leaders agendas. The facts of this have so little to do with the so called national discourse; the facts are a normal Saturday am turned into a life shattering event. Obama, and anyone exploiting this, has shown disrespect for the victims. He talks about civility - but it seems like practicing it, which is what civility is (it's a code of conduct, not a course or rhetoric), comes much harder.

  85. Our Prez has been on my irritated list quite a few times in the last few years, but this was a shining moment for him.

    By contrast, we have Palin and her 'will cuz we want to and to Hell with the consequences as long as we get our way'approach.
    The quote by Virginia Woolfe came immediately to mind after hearing her 'take' on things;
    "Better to remain silent, and perhaps be thought a fool, than to speak up, and remove all doubt."

  86. A great speech delivered eloquently

  87. I applaud his effort, and maybe this will be his defining moment as President. However, in my opinion, President Obama's words (or the underpaid individual who wrote that speech) don't carry much weight for me. He has not done what he said he would do, but there is still time, Mr President.

  88. Yesterday we saw two completely different speeches made regarding this tragedy. One, from Sarah Palin, was full of self-aggrandizing narcissism read with bitterness and anger...not for the victims of the shooting, but her perception of herself as a victim of the fallout. It was petulant, adolescent and generally repulsive in its self-serving nature. The other speech was made by Barack Obama, and it was Presidential in every way it could possibly be. It was evident who the grown-up in the room was yesterday. President Obama's masterful and touching eulogy to the fallen was one of the finest of its kind I have ever seen. It is painfully obvious that the country made the right choice in November of 2008.

    On the other hand, Speaker Boehner turning down an opportunity to join with President Obama in favor of doing a fundraiser in Washington was done in extremely poor taste and just demonstrates the skewed priorities of the partisans we sent to Washington to do our work.

  89. dear on line editor, The Presidents message is apt and every citizen must read, under stand the real meaning and whole heartedly accept it as a principle for life.What is required is peace and calm for any progress and development.Noit only that a violent attitude and thinking generate hatred create ill will etc hence the leadership must inculcate peace and tranquilty in the country.The violence is the result of wtong thinking and under standing of human life and environmentdated January 13th 2011 time 1515Hrs ist PM

  90. The problem isn't a lack of civility.
    The problem is the complete REFUSAL of the country's political representatives to have a public, in depth, informed debate about complex and difficult issues such as gun control,

  91. The President's speech was appropriate because he sought to defuse not only the rancor surrounding the shooting in Arizona but because he implicitly argued against extremist views. In doing so he both identified the source of the shooting--extremist thinking--and denied that link at the same time: a very skilfull piece of rhetoric on his part.

    Those of us in the mental health professions know that while there is almost never a direct link between a psychotic action such as the one committed by the young man in Arizona, that toxic ideas spread through the minds of very disturbed people and stimulate unconscious violence. Intellectual genocide precedes genocide. Ideas kill people before they are actually murdered. It is indeed time for people to be held to account for violent metaphors that do prompt the disturbed parts of anyone's mind especially those who are on the borderline of psychotic action.

  92. It's an incredibly poignant reminder that in the select group of the sacrificial, Christina Green was chosen; a living/passing memorial to another day when heated rhetoric led to an equally extraordinarily tragic event. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it took a country to shape a killer. J.L.Loughner was not alone when he pointed his gun on Saturday morning & killed six innocent people in Tucson, everyone who saw signs of his gradual departure from reality & shrugged their shoulders stands inside the jail cell with him. What thoroughly amazes me is how many people witnessed the corruption of Loughners' soul but took no action to intervene as if being anti-sociable made him unreachable; as Lady Macbeth can attest, washing your hands will always leave a trace residue. Anyone who read his ramblings on YouTube & imagined it as purely fiction woke up to the non-fictionalized version on January 8th; angels & demons walk the Earth & for those in disbelief need a desperate introduction to Patricia Maisch who stood & reacted to reality in real-time. Politics has always been a game & on Saturday morning, in an Arizona suburb, it transformed itself into the deadiest game of Russian roulette when six spectators paid the heaviest price. Unfortunately, all the lessons learned immediately in this aftermath will be forgotten as evidenced via Sarah Palins' latest diatribe & the cycle will repeat; it's human nature to ignore history & pass the buck but, as President Harry Truman vividly reminded himself, day in, day out, the buck stops here.

  93. Civility requires a thinking mind, our undereducated population does not think for themselves, they listen to Rush and Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Dick Armey. While I applaud President Obama speech and agree with the tone of it I am a realist and its not over yet. Sad to say the NRA has had its way, the repurcussions are great and we cannot wait HANDGUN CONTROL NOW.

    thomas McMahon
    Millis MA

  94. Glad to hear Obama called for civility. I just hope he doesn't underestimate the threat posed by the alternative. A democratic society must insist that government monopolize the use of force. The second amendment exists to insure that Americans can be armed against their own government, in the event that some usurpation called for an extreme response. Many on the right have become confused on that point, and now seem to think that the intent is to let them employ the threat of arms to intimidate political opponents. Gabrielle Giffords got exactly that kind of opposition in her last election campaign, and courageously faced it down.

    Calls by politicians, however coyly presented, suggesting violent interventions in politics, are only appropriate from revolutionaries, and pose obvious threats to public safety and the viability of the democratic process. That's the road to a brown shirt dystopia. The next time Palin, or any other candidate for significant office, starts down that road, Obama should ask his attorney general to send around someone to help them understand that his administration really does intend to monopolize force.

  95. While I am all for civility in politics, I am also for rationality in our reactions to crimes and criminals.

    We miss the obvious. Perpetrators of crimes should not have their faces splashed over the media throughout the country. They want notoriety. They want recognition. We ignorantly give it to them. The killer in Tucson (notice I do not mention his name) made some of us mad, made some of us sad, made some of us, though not many, think. The killer thinks he is important. He is nothing. He is not worthy of the press given him. If we would downplay the criminals themselves, while reporting on their crimes, it would go a long way to not having them happen in the first place. It is basic. It is Pavlov in action. We reward the lonely, the isolated, the socially outcast with attention. Then we wonder how these things could happen. It is the wrong reaction by the media and presents us with the wrong results. The killer in Tucson knew his picture would be disseminated widely. So he smiled, proud he was going to be in everyone’s home, in everyone‘s mind. We foolishly allow it. The media should analyze this. There should be a new standard.

  96. and the oscar for the worst speech by a President goes to . . .

    Barry O.

    This award can sit right next to his undeserved Nobel Prize.

    But you are right he has inspired me, I will work harder, I will strive to reach my next goal.

    The next election is in sight and a new President and a new dawning of american conservatism is going to happen.

  97. I don't know. The whole setting looked and felt more like a high school pep rally than a memorial service. Frankly I found the entire spectacle to be in poor taste. Even the young man who assisted the congresswoman appeared to be launching his political debut. I can't see how this type of an event can be viewed as anything other than self serving to those who spoke.

  98. The President's call for us to live up to the expectations of our children was wonderfully spot-on during this sad and divisive time.

    Ms. Palin's incendiary and sometimes incoherent rhetoric is the polar opposite of considered and articulate words of Gabbie Giffords, the true western girl in this drama. I only wish more people knew her and of her actions for the people of southern AZ.

  99. President Obama's speech reminded me of the man I so enthusiastically voted for in 2008. I only wish that he could apply his inspirational rhetoric to the day-to-day challenges that are facing us and continue in this way to bring back together this dangerously and unhappily divided nation. It's a big job for one man, for sure, but he is the leader of our country and needs to set the tone.

  100. ZW at #8 is right.
    I don't know if civility can prevent these kinds of accidents. But I do know that 1) Reagan shut down mental hospitals, normalizing leaving mentally insane people to fend for themselves on the streets and in the jails of America.
    2) The right wing blocks every chance at sensible gun control it can, paying heed to the NRA.

    If we took care of those who suffer from mental illness in a humane way and had much tighter control of who can own a gun and what kind, then this and so many other tragedies visited upon our nation in and out of the media spotlight could be avoided.
    I hope I said that civilly.

  101. Thank you, President Obama, for delivering a thoughtful, measured speech that injects sanity, once again.

    One could have at least hoped this would give the spin doctors over at Fox "News" some pause, but after the President's speech, Fox "News" reported that the President spent "a total of 45 minutes at the hospital" and then went on to report that the President had "a nine-minute visit with Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. Obama also met with several other patients along with doctors and nurses at the hospital."

    To Roger Ailes - you couldn't give him a break even in this instance?


  102. It was a speech that we all needed to hear.

  103. When all the hand-wringing, speechifying, and lamentations have faded from the TV screens, who among Americans will stand up and call for the overturn of The Second Amendment? Who will demand prohibitive gun laws that are enforced rigorously? Who will phone or email the NRA and tell its executive to support and even applaud such enforcement?

    When compared to other mature democracies, the most significant fact of American politics is this: violence, not the voter, is occasionally used to remove elected officials, temporarily or permanently - and with malice.

    When was the last time you read about a politician being seriously attacked or killed in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and others?

    All of those countries have had their fair share of violence and revolution. But generally, they've moved on from deep-seated, immature and irresponsible outrages, as in Tucson et al.

    The United States is an exceptional country, as many say, and as Americans believe. No rational American though, I'm sure, wants that image dishonored again with similar violent acts.

    Surely, for starters, it's time for action to stop the proliferation of hand guns?

  104. politics have a way of absorbing our emotions, while controlling our pocketbooks. As a nation, we have run from headline to headline for over 200 years, without ever stopping to think through how to run the republic at hand. We teach our children nonsense and then those children grow up and know very little about what is actually happening with our government. That seems to happen over and over, America wasn't dumbed down, as much as, America was always dumb.

    Over 99% of Americans do not understand what the dollar in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution meant. Americans do not understand the difference between promissory notes of legal tender and real money. We are not taught the history of the colonies with bank credit and paper notes, and how that drove our forefathers to draw up a Constitution that appointed silver coins as our currency... and how different that is from a republic running on bank credit... so we fail to grasp the gravity of the presence of a federal bank enslaving the Treasury, or what happens to the economy when you remove the real money. Yet, all these things happened, they are our national identity, the core of our republic's history ... and the source of our national confusion.

    So another headline comes and goes, another event transpires, and the beat goes on. Nobody asks whether the exclusionary economic climate of the banking elite brought this tragedy to pass. Nobody blames the politics that drove the young man to embrace assassination... even though that is exactly what happened. 30 years ago there was a foreboding realization in America that the system no longer offered any real opportunity to the middle and lower classes. Nobody said why it was happening, because we were all too confused. We just saw it happening. Now we live without hope and half the nation suffers from depression. Lots of crime, lots of chaos, lots of heated debate, but still no real understanding what caused our national decline... or that the bankers took away the real money from the republic... doh!

    President Grant signed the bill that demonetized the silver dollar. It sent the nation into immediate recession and the economy receded every year for the next 40 years. The Democratic party kept trying to bring back the silver dollar; we have more silver in Wyoming mines than the rest of the planet combined. But Wall Street banks came up with a different solution for our currency; paper money, promissory notes of legal tender, the same stuff that failed us over and over when we were colonies... doh!

  105. A grown man.......I openly weep in my insomniac's bed as I read the words, "She opened her eyes!" Oh please let's build a world with love and the brotherhood of a dignified and worthy American family. For just one day let's extend our hands to the perceived enemy and forgive one another the baser animals that dwell in the darker regions of all our hearts.

  106. After Obama's remarks I think Palin feels that she is the victim.

  107. Our President was at his best in this address last night...challenging all the haters to get above the bitterness that divides us. And I agree with the comparison between his moving words of comfort and hope and self-promotion of Palin...her 'video' was all about HER, claiming she was a victim (again). After that shameless push for attention, I think she has lost all consideration for being a candidate for ANY national office. Way to go, Mr. President...a beautiful tribute to the dead and honor to the living...the survivors and the heroes.

  108. Using 20/20 hindsight, it is easy to see the 'ample warning signs' that, if heeded, would have prevented this man from wandering the streets and committing this horrendous crime. But, the truth is, there are many, many people wandering the streets, going to work, raising families, riding buses, buying guns and attending public events who have histories much more alarming that this man did before the events of Saturday. He ran a red light, had a couple of drug-related misdemeanors, was kicked out of college, had bad communication skills, and posted ignorant and incoherent things on the internet. He also seemed weird to some people around him, although some of that could be 20/20 hindsight. In all, not generally enough, from the outside, to lock someone up. Even if he sought treatment from a mental health professional, he would most likely have been 'wandering the streets' between treatments, and not in a lock-down facility.

    It makes perfect sense that some of his behavior may have triggered an ineligibility to legal purchase a firearm, although (1) I have not read that he was actually diagnosed with a mental health issue that would prevent him from legally obtaining a firearm; (2) For his previous criminal case, he successfully completed the required programs, so that he could not be prohibited based upon criminal conduct; (3) The 2nd Amendment Gun Rights people would never allow these types of (pre-Saturday), minor infractions to stand in the way of the right to purchase firearms, because many, many people would be ineligible; and (4) he could have, as others before him have done, obtained the weapon through illegal means. So, in short, there is no way to keep all of the people with these same warning signs off the street and sans deadly weapons. They are out there. They are not all stable, and we may not be able to prevent the next one either. I think that we can be aware. We can look for the signs as they come up, and not wait until after an event to mention it to someone. Something along the lines of the 'See Something, Say Something' campaign that is being pushed in some of the cities.

    But, there are things within our collective control that we can to to create an atmosphere less conducive to the violence and intolerance and hatred and ignorance. We can, collectively, enter into a tacit agreement to be more respectful of each other. A Social Compact, as described by the political theorists. We can, as a society, decide that it is not acceptable to spew hatred and conspiracy theories and unfounded rumor, lies and misinformation. We can collectively determine that it is not acceptable to reward those who do. When a commentator makes up crazy stuff on a 'News' program, and the craziness increases viewership, which increases advertising, which makes the commentator extremely wealthy, we are rewarding the commentator, which makes others do the same. When a politician blurts out inappropriate comments in an solemn setting, and the news organizations give it a ton of play, then people send that politician lots and lots of money from all over the country, we are rewarding that politician, which causes others to follow suit. When we then buy the books, and attend the rallies and functions of these people who take on a "leadership" role, with all of the benefits and none of the responsibility of honest leadership, and we do not hold them accountable for the positions they take, we create more of these irresponsible 'leaders'. When we grant 'celebrity status' to anyone and everyone who does something bad, or outrageous, or notorious, then that person goes around the country, doing interview after interview, gets a television show or a book deal as a result, and makes a lot of money in the process, we are encouraging bad, outrageous and notorious behavior. And, when we cede thinking to others, and are satisfied to go through life, merely regurgitating the words that have been programmed into our little brains, then we will forever be stuck with the quality of dialogue that we have today. We can, as a society, decide to think for ourselves, debate points instead of calling names, give respect to others, and demand respect and accountability from those who enjoy the benefits of elevated, leadership positions.

    We can, as a society, expect more of ourselves and our leaders. We should. Unless and until we collectively agree that this is the way we want to live, we will continue to foster the negative climate that somehow gives license to those on the fringe, to take matters into their own hands.

  109. I don't understand! The gunman wasn't political. He was deranged. What does the act of a crazy assassin have to do with the tea party rhetoric? Oh, I know, the shooter listed ALICE IN WONDERLAND as one of his favorite books and there was tea party in it. I see the connection...

  110. Watch Sarah Palin's "speech" in her current video. Then watch Obama's eulogy speech. Now....imagine Palin as President, I rest my case.

  111. Such an inspiring speech by the commander of the world's biggest army ! Let's hope that the American Reality some day will live up to the American Dream. Not only in the USA.

  112. Looks like our President was up to the task.
    Let's see how those who hate him more than the devil will react.

  113. Let's face it. When future historians write their books twenty or more years from now, it's likely this President is will be noted as arguably the most influential public figure of this generation - and could end up being mentioned in the same conversation as other great Presidents. The true test of any person, let alone the President, is how he or she responds during less than desirable moments in time. We look to our leaders when we find ourselves in sudden moments of grief and human tragedy (9/11, Katrina, Haiti, Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, etc). Here, the President responded starting with a proper address to the nation on that Saturday afternoon, followed by delivering one of his best speeches ever at the Memorial yesterday evening.

    I felt that the speech was classic in text and written perfectly for such an event. At times it sounded like he was reading out of a teleprompter (given the reading of names and specific details). Other times he sounded like he was on the campaign trail running for office, much like when he gave the speech on Race in America (2008) in Philadelphia - really, it was that good! I was most touched at the end when he said the line, "I hope you jump in rain puddles", in reference to the 9 year old girl, followed by "If there are rain puddles in heaven....". It felt as if God himself was evangelizing through Obama. All in all, a great speech spoken by a talent orator.

    One final note: I'm sure all of us have either read or commented on the surprisingly celebratory mood of the capacity audience at the Memorial event. Let's take a step back and empathize for a moment. Tucson is a sizable city in the middle of the desert. Sure Phoenix is just up the road, but their metropolitan makeup is the total opposite of ours. There is no suburban sprawl allover Arizona. Each city, big and small, really stand scattered in isolation. This means these cities and towns are intimate with how people interact and get along, much like your typical large college campus as the President of U of Arizona stated last night. So when a tragedy like this happens, it stays embedded in the psyche of virtually all Tucsonions. Obviously this kind of thing never happens out there. I'm not saying Tucson hardly has to worry about crime, but it sure isn't like living in Camden or North Philadelphia. Given that which we know, these poor residents have been living with this for days now and have had very little to be happy. It is likely they will be grieving for some time while the city works to put this event behind them. And even when they do move on, the memories will still lie with them for a very long time. People will be talking about this to their grandkids many years from now.

    I say a loud applause and moments of standing ovation are not only appropriate for such a memorial, they should be treated an opportunity to celebrate life and each other. Not every memorial is meant to be traditionally quiet and sad - there also needs to be optimism and cheerfulness too.

  114. I hope Olberman and company take heed of the stern dressing down the President gave them last night.

  115. We used to be able to get help for people who exhibited signs of mental illness no matter what their age.

    The Health insurance lobby 'persuaded' the government to do away with laws that would protect us from the dangerously mentally ill and protect the mentally ill from wandering the streets in a delusional fog.

    Mentally ill people rarely ever know that they are mentally ill, they are not going to walk into a hospital of their own volition, they have to be committed by someone who has witnessed their odd behavior.

    For the insurance companies, paying for treatment for mental illness cut into their profits and that was the bottom line. They do not care about people or the safety of this country and as long as they control health care that is not going to change.

  116. Yonkers, New York
    13 January 2010

    Yet once again, a President of these United States, Barack Obama, has plaintively echoed the memorable words of another President, Abraham Lincoln, who pleaded for Americans, Northerners and Southerners alike, to come together "with malice toward none, but with charity for all!"

    President Obama's plea will surely resonate with a great majority of the American people who have absolutely nothing to do with the atmosphere of hate and violence now enveloping the country which has been created mindlessly and recklessly by a handful of disgruntled politicians, incumbents and retirees alike, and ceaselessly fueled by the stream of invective and hate-mongering spewed out daily by the likes of such high-profile media personalities as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter and still others.

    There is obviously a downside to the First Amendment right to free speech and a free press. It is easily susceptible to reckless abuse. The tragedy for America is that these rights are absolute and cannot be circumscribed one way or the other--as these should be.

    It does not help that the U.S. Supreme Court has come down with the ruling that the Second Amendment gives all citizens the right to bear arms, brushing aside the Prefatory to that Amendment which clearly gives that right exclusively to a "well-regulated Militia."

    The result of this startling ruling, which the National Rifle Association understandably has lauded to high heavens, is that any Tom, Dick, Harry and Mary can go to a gun store anywhere in the country and buy a firearm, including an assault rifle, as easily as buying a piece of chewing gum.

    Is it any wonder that many places America are turning into a Tombstone, or Cheyenne, Dodge City, or O.K. Corral--or other such lawless towns in the West?

    Mariano Patalinjug

  117. One of Obama's best speeches. Good job Mr. President.

  118. A much hoped-for new era of civility and honesty can surely begin, by example, from the Oval Office which early hailed the advent of less-divisive discourse in government. Meanwhile, it appears the shooter, a totally different problem, was long deaf to any voices but those of a deranged mind.

  119. Perhaps a flower, a white carnation, left at a gun shop or a NRA office or Fox News or progun politician will remind them of our compassion.

  120. The commenters here must be young, under 40 I imagine, otherwise they'd have lived through so many of these incidents and concommitant calls for "civility" that they'd be bored by now. The president may have said the right thing but it's a remake of the same old movie. We will always have endless availability of guns, an normal supply of nut cases, and contentious politics (that's what politics is) with a rich tradition of insult and name-calling. One of the weirdest characteristics of America is that every once in a while a whole bunch of us believe we can talk our way out of our nature and traditions. I'd sooner believe in Santa Claus.

  121. It doesn't seem that President Obama can catch a break.

    After attempting to "heal the wounds of a nation", the various news gurus
    were already taking sides as to whether the speech was "more like
    campaign stump oratory" or "somber tribute".

    Talk about civility, lets all take a deep breath and cut the President some slack. This from a guy who has voted Republican since 1960 (until
    2008, that is)!

  122. You Americans really are gifted with a compassionate and intelligent President. He really rose to the occasion. I can't see any other world leader giving the speech he just gave (or indeed former Presidents). Of course it wasn't a contest, but a really supreme national address, like this one, can really help things transgend in a positive way a fill people's souls with hope.

  123. The President is the person who has repeatedly bad-mouthed opponents, embraced the politics of division and class warfare now preaching on how we all need to get along. His constant blaming others for everything wrong and denying his responsibility for anything has clearly tired the public. He might try leading by a good example if he is serious about changing the tone of political debate in the United States. Time will tell.

  124. American politics has become the mere theater of rhetoric to distract the public from the fact the super rich and corporations have taken near complete control of the government through massive system of bribery. As long as lobbyists write the laws for corporate welfare and the benefit of the super rich the disconnect between the life realities of the electorate those pulling the strings will breed an ever increasing levels of vitriol to keep them divided and distracted from discovering they are being manipulated for the wealthiest Americans benefit.

  125. Dear Sarah Palin,

    As much as I would like you to run against President Obama in 2012, even I, being a staunch Democrat, am beginning to think that a presidential candidate should meet a minimum threshold for dignity, intelligence, and reason. And you are not there yet. Nor will you probably ever be.

    If you would like an indication of what that threshold is, you might start reviewing the president's speech last night.