Mary Grabar

For college students at the memorial service for the victims of the January 8th shooting at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ event the benediction by a longhaired college professor invoking “masculine energy” and “feminine energy” that somehow coalesces in a magical middle confirms the validity of their lessons in multiculturalism and the virtue of primitivism. It was an appropriate way to introduce someone in whom they’ve placed their faith, with vague promises of “hope” and “change,” and “healing the planet.”

President Obama’s campaign narrative, recalled at the memorial through the passing out of slogan-emblazoned t-shirts, echoes the dominant narrative of school lessons—that all problems can be solved with the right feelings and thoughts, and with faith in someone from one of the racial, ethnic, and gender categories officially designated as “oppressed.” Indeed, our President did seem to emphasize that it was right after his visit that Congresswoman Giffords opened her eyes for the first time.

Many commentators afterwards, even on Fox News, attributed the inappropriate cheering and applause to the setting of the arena at the University of Arizona, giving Obama a pass. On Fox News, Brit Hume praised the speech. Charles Krauthammer heralded the “brilliant rhetorical approach.” Obama was praised for his diplomacy for simply criticizing generic "discourse" that is “sharply polarized.” This was a reference to the charges by the left that right-wing rhetoric was responsible for the shootings, and the defense from conservatives who pointed to violent images and metaphors from the left that went so far as to wishfully call for the assassination of President George W. Bush. It is ironic that this was the network that Obama had been singling out for attack by name in a quite polarized manner, until his party got “shellacked” last November.

But the news hour after the memorial service was not a time to point such things out, as Obama’s handlers assuredly knew. It would be extremely “insensitive” to bring up such facts at such a time.

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at