Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance Alert - Jonathan Freedland

Freedland :

"The fear was that – for all his oratorical brilliance – Obama somehow lacked empathy, that he was a slightly chilly, aloof figure, that he struggled to connect emotionally.

We'll hear much less of that talk now.

For the address he gave at last night's memorial service for the victims of the Arizona shootings was elegiac, heartfelt and deeply moving."

Alas, it didn't actually move Mr Freedland, or connect with him emotionally - in the sense of altering his behaviour.

Here's that fine Obama speech :

"But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds...

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind. So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together."

And here's how much it moved Freedland :

"This was meant to be the Republicans' week, as they took control of the House of Representatives and its legislative agenda. Instead they look small – as well as defensive, fending off accusations that it was the violent rhetoric of the right that fuelled the current toxic political environment. None smaller than the de facto leader of today's Republican party, Sarah Palin, who preceded the Tucson address with an aggressive, self-regarding and petty-minded videotaped message that claimed she had been the victim of a "blood-libel"."

Maybe he was just too busy praising the speech to actually listen to it.


Anonymous said...

If you scroll through the comments on CIF it seems he is far from alone.

dearieme said...

We stopped taking the Guardian when we realised that many of the writers - and a majority of the letter-writers - were, as we used to say, wrong in the head.