That sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union

Quote of the Day for Thursday, January 13th, 2011:

President Barack Obama, from his address yesterday at the memorial service for those killed in the Tucson shooting:

In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. Phyllis – she’s our mom or grandma; Gabe our brother or son. In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied America’s fidelity to the law. In Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.

And in Christina…in Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic.

So deserving of our love.

And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let’s make sure it’s worthy of those we have lost. Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, a tip of the hat this morning to President Obama for his deft handing of the Tucson Media Meltdown. It was gratifying and heartening to see that he saw fit to quell the circus unobtrusively, while honoring the dead, the wounded, and the heroes involved in the tragedy.

I’m only half surprised by his approach, as his tenure seems to be building his character. If this had happened two years ago, I honestly don’t think he would have risen above the fray like this, as he persistently displayed a penchant for perpetual campaigning and partisanship. In this address, he sounds presidential to me for the first time.

Like so many Catholics, I pray for the president at Mass every day, and while I still despise his political agenda, it almost feels rewarding to see him able to discern that there is more to leadership than power. I’m proud of him for the first time since he took office.