Friday, January 14, 2011

Liturgics: Memorial Service: Tucson, Arizona address by prez Obama is historical text

 a few of
my thawts on the wonderful/terrible memorial service
for the assassinated, including a member of Congress and a judge and a child and .....

mass-murder on the micro-scale ....

To review the event in Tucson, Arizona, i much experienced viewing the full TVcast as tho a church service:

The early prayer in the memorial service had some heart-touching elements for me [like pervasive use of the word 'Creator,' with reverence], but it wasn't coherently representative of native peoples at prayer, in my experience .... still he did mention in his story of personal witness that on one side of his family they're all Mexican, while on the other side, his family was Yaqui native tribal people who had been driven out of Mexico and found refuge in the USA; Mexico yes, Mexico no; he was proud to be an American, I felt.  But regarding his liturgy, with the great eagle's feather, held forth [a powerful symbolism of the metaphor-rich eagle, to say nothing of the eagle-narratives; yet. I'm sure some medicine men / medicine women who watched their protege, him, on TV -- he mentioned that he had asked the medicine people for permission to come and say a prayer of creation -- they granted permission and  were all watching him on TV all the while wincing at the liturgically scattered 'prayer' --  that prayer was also a statement of values to his audience [sermonette] and sometimes a rambling which is off-putting to most non-anthropologists, I'd guess [i'm no anthrplgist either]. Still, he gave presence in that 'prayer' to the holy Great Spirit. An opening liturgical moment that was for me at once disconcerting but overall inspiring, edifying, reverencing me.

Then came the parade of politicians tasked with the liturgics of reading the passages of Scriptures from the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament [cabinet secretary Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano];  i think she read from Isaiah.  then from the new Testament [cabinet secretary, Attorney General Eric Holder, a passage in 2 Corinthians].

This strong thread spoke powerfully to my heart in seeking to enter more deeply into the mourning for our loss, the families' losses, the civic loss of office-bearers and citizens, the grassroots of the public order in America.

Arizona's Governor,  Jan Brewer,  i found her brief address also inspiring.

Another blogger, Conor Williams, goes off the diving board at the deep end of the pool in his entry, 'Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Creativity' [ Jan13,2k11]  --

 I watched the President’s speech in Arizona last night with a fair measure of pessimism. Facing the highest of expectations after half a week of intensive, overheated public debate (fueled by an ever-quickening news cycle), the President seemed sure to disappoint. No one could match the hype for this speech.

Of course, if you watched the speech last night, you know that I was wrong. In the vein of the best of the American political tradition, the President stepped up and moved beyond politics—transcendent in the only meaningful sense of the word. For such an effort, only Lincoln’s words will do: President Obama called us to be great, to live up to “the better angels of our nature.” 
i'm very grateful for this good president in his address to the mourners and responsible citizens in the audience.  it was an audience; and i disliked it intensely.
The audience was so rude, cheerleading-behaviours dominated the soundscape and the camera as much as they coud; enthusiasm yes, politesse yes.  Ceremonial degradation, no!

The audience was terrible; the liturgists were splendid. The President had the position of preacher, the function of homilist; and he gave a fine oration on civility, to say the least.  And his christianly sermonic themes and threads, made the developing public memorial service in Tucson more Christian than not.  And splendidly so.  A mass assembly of Americans in Tucson is going to attract attention -- if, as i hope and pray, it can get past the ACLU.

But a more properly political-aspectual analysis woud be focussed on the good-hearted idiot-student corps rah-rahing their way thru the ceremony, like drunken sailors, as tho they had no idea what a death and a murder and an assassination mean.  They came to chearlead for their political idol of the season.  What a confusion of decora -- a lay Christian-mostly service of mourning, the sermon / address, having been themed around 'civility,'  considering the problem of Evil for a key moment, the President taking his text for this sermon from a verse in The Boof of  Job [pronounced 'jobe', ], and a myopic too-old-to-remain-childish display of cheerleading.

i think the address was historical, and will appear in all the textbooks of political discourse in this period. he will be compared to all sorts of earlier presidents in part on the basis of his addresses, this one perhaps will become the most famous.

Attraction and repulsion --

--  Politicarp

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