It pains me to have to say this...
...after listening and reflecting on President Obama's Memorial Speech in Tucson -- eulogizing the victims, lauding the heroism of ordinary people, calling upon all Americans to live up to a child's expectations for a better future, and underscoring what is most important in life, "how well we have loved" -- I felt moved and inspired... and yet... and yet, I couldn't help but remember with pain and sadness the victims of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the hundreds of thousands of children the U.S. has killed in our name since 9/11 and over the last two decades. I'm still haunted by the picture of the beautiful little Iraqi girl, whose legs were blown off by our bombs, and so many other wonderful children whose pictures we haven't seen, whose names we have not heard, who are simply dismissed as "Collateral Damage." Who has memorialized their deaths? Who speaks on their behalf? Does the invocation to "love well" not extend to them also? Where they not as magical in their innocence as the lovely little nine-year-old, Christina Taylor Green, who was killed in Tucson? Were their deaths not as senseless and tragic, are they not as worthy of our tears and our love?
President Obama gave a great, heart-rending speech. There is no denying its beauty and eloquence. Even his detractors had to agree. But I just can't suppress a nagging question: When will Americans love the children of the world as we do our own, no matter their race or nationality? When will we summon our better angels and embrace humanity as one family?
Listening to another great orator on Martin Luther King Day, I couldn't help but wonder if we will ever truly "get to the promised land" the Reverend envisioned, if we don't heed the call to "love others as we love ourselves."
Many great men and women have given eloquent speeches throughout history, but the words are dead as door nails if we don't act on them.
Can we think long and hard about this? I don't have much faith in our powers of reflection after reading the roll call of votes to abolish Obamacare this afternoon. The Republicans in our government no longer care about America's own children, let alone those living in far countries around the world. Health should be every child's right in this day when so many have so much more than enough.