- I wasn't able to journey to Tucson for the event :( , but was able to make it to the headquarters of the Arizona Democratic Party in Phoenix. There, dozens of people from all over the Valley gathered together to view the service.
- The service was marked less by politics (there weren't any, and no one where I was complained about that fact, either) and more by *humanity*. The opening blessing by Dr. Carlos Gonzalez was a personalized Native American one - after asking the Creator for blessings for all, he asked for a "little blessing" for his son in Afghanistan.
- Daniel Hernandez, the UA student and Giffords intern whose quick thinking and actions are credited with saving Congresswoman Giffords' life, received a standing ovation that reached all the way to Phoenix.
I don't want to use this pic (Jon Kyl is in the middle of it), but it's the best one...
He tried to humbly claim that he isn't a real hero, that people like Congresswoman Giffords, Dr. Rhee (Giffords' doctor), the first responders, and anyone else who has dedicated their lives to public service is a real hero.
The crowd in Tucson and in Phoenix, and later the Commander-in-Chief, disagreed.
I think it's safe to defer to the Commander-in-Chief's judgement on this one. :)
- Governor Jan Brewer spoke. She needs to stop reading other people's words. At Saturday's press conference held in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, her words were heartfelt and sincere. Today, her words sounded stilted and calculated. She sounded like she was reaching for emotional profundity. She didn't succeed.
She could also learn a lesson from two of the other speakers, Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder. While neither can be called a "gifted" public speaker, both are "skilled" public speakers. They hit their marks and got off the stage.
- Based on the reaction of the crowd, Janet Napolitano is more popular today than even when she left Arizona for D.C. and the job of Secretary of Homeland Security. The cheers for her were much longer for her than for Brewer, and if that didn't send the message, the shout of "We miss you Janet!" from the crowd did.
- As for President Obama's remarks, there were too many high points to list them all here, but for me, the passage invoking the youngest victim, Christina Taylor Green, and her asprirations, so tragically cut off, was the most moving of all of his remarks -
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.
The video of the President's speech, courtesy PBS Newshour -
In other news, at least tangentially-related to the events -
- Sarah Palin signalled the end to her presidential ambitions with a video response to recent calls to tone down her rhetoric, laden with militant and violent imagery. She essentially said that her violent words don't contribute to violence, but others' criticism of her violent words does (huh?). She also used a hateful anti-semitic slur, "blood libel," to portray herself as much a victim as the Jewish Congresswoman laying critically injured in a hospital.
On a day that was all about community, shared grief, and collective hope (Gabby opened her eyes! YES!!), Palin tried to make it all about herself.
- LD20 GOP chairman Anthony Miller resigned from his position due to threats to himself and his family from tea party types.
- Conservative folks have, of course, criticized the way the event was conducted, possibly because they don't dare criticize the event itself.