Obama reageert op de schietpartij in Virginia en verbreedt het kader. Dat lijkt misschien opportunistisch effectbejag, maar dat is het niet. Obama meent wat hij zegt (sorry lezers, ik lijk een ware gelovige, ik kan het niet helpen):
"We know that... we know what the challenges are, and we know what the solutions are. We know that we got to match the might of our military with the strength of our diplomacy and the power of our alliances. We know that if we increase fuel efficiency standards on cars we can create a sustainable environment. We know that on health care, if we make sure that children have regular check ups that they're not going to treatable illnesses like asthma. We know that if we invest in early childhood education and we give teachers the pay and respect that they deserve, that we'll see improvements in the classroom."
"And the reason that we don't do anything about it is not technical, it's not because we lack the policies, it's because our politics is broken. Because we have given up believing that we can change things and so we turn away. And we look inward and we worry about ourselves. We stop believing that this government is of and by and for the people - we think that's just a bunch of words in a textbook somewhat. And it's that same disengagement that allows us to tolerate violence even though we know we really shouldn't and makes us feel isolated, makes us feel powerless."
"What I want us to reflect on today is how can we regain that power, how can we regain a sense that we have some control over this country of ours? How can we restore a sense of decency, how can we protect against a coarsening of the culture? How can we push back against the cynicism and hopelessness and despair? Those are things that, those things won't bring those young people back that were killed today, and maybe nothing could have been done to prevent it."
"But what it can do is address that other violence I spoke about, what it can do is make this country live up, a little bit better, to its creed. It can make sure that children who don't have opportunity do have opportunity. That parents that do not have health care do have health care. That those who do not have jobs can get jobs. And that a new spirit washes over this nation, one that is premised on the idea that we have mutual responsibilities towards each other and that we care for each other and that we are stronger when are united than when we're divided."
"Somebody said that the way we do that is by electing me, I appreciate you saying that, but let me say this: this campaign - and this I mean - this campaign cannot be about me, it is a vehicle for your hopes, it's a vehicle for your dreams. If you make a decision that change is gonna happen, then change will happen."
Het meest opmerkelijke zinnetje is in dit betoog: "we look inward and we worry about ourselves". Wat een prachtige en rare atypische opmerking voor een politicus. Heeft Obama dat zelf bedacht of heeft hij een psycholoog als tekstschrijver? Nee, dat is hijzelf. Je moet er even naar zoeken, maar hier spreekt de vleesgeworden anti-polarisatie kandidaat.
En kijk, daar is Lincoln weer, in the Gettysberg address: "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth" Ook dat is zo anti-polarisatie als maar zijn kan. Dat ging over een burgeroorlog, niet over de slachtoffers van een verwarde en betreurenswaardige immigrant. Maar toch. Een beetje Lincoln, een beetje Roosevelt, een heel klein beetje Carter wellicht. Een hele kleine verandering van enorme omvang is genoeg: decency. "We care for each other."