Grigg gets right down to it in that beautiful matter-of-fact language that is so refreshing in this plasticene time. He opens:
“They had their entire lives ahead of them -- birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” intoned the murderer of 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki as he began the liturgy of official mourning for the victims of the Newtown massacre.
Every time children die in an outbreak of violence, “I react not as a president, but as anybody else would as a parent,” continued the head of a regime that will not explain to Nasser al-Awlaki why his son Anwar and grandson Abdulrahman – both of the U.S. citizens – were murdered by presidential decree.
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years,” insisted the official who has presided over dozens of lethal drone attacks in Pakistan and other countries with whom the U.S. is not formally at war.
Tears welled up in Obama’s eyes as he pronounced the familiar, facile phrases of selective sympathy. After ordering that U.S. flags be flown at half-mast for a week, Obama said that he and his wife would hug their children a little closer tonight as he empathizes with the parents whose children were murdered in Newtown.
It’s doubtful that he was moved to similar thoughts of vicarious bereavement as he contemplated the parents in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan who have been left childless because of his actions.
Silber goes much further into the psychology. Even the hardcore may have trouble agreeing fully with everything he says, but all of it is worth consideration.
Now I want to draw your attention to several other issues that will never be mentioned during the current exercise in national mourning. I again emphasize that I exclude from this analysis those persons and families directly affected by these events. My concern here is the national immersion in this story. This enthusiasm, and there is no other word to describe it, for demonstrating how deeply one is affected, how vast is one's grief, how completely shattered everyone is by these deaths -- everyone, that is, who is supposedly "decent" and "caring," and who is grief-stricken and shattered by these deaths but not by many thousands of other deaths -- is a symptom of a culture that is profoundly disturbed.
In wrapping up, he brings back the brimstone:
And while there are references now and then in news stories to Newtown being a "wealthy" or "affluent" town, I haven't seen much highlighting of some easily available facts about Newtown: 95% of those who live in Newtown are white, and the estimated median household family income is around $120,000. This is one very small, enormously privileged fraction of America; it certainly is not representative of America in any general sense in the smallest degree.
And that makes it the perfect tragedy for the Age of Obama, and the perfect opportunity for Weeping Obama to make his appearance. Never mind those whom Obama orders to be murdered; don't give a thought to the children abused, humiliated and tormented in ways that will scar them for the rest of their lives; ignore the families destroyed by Obama's zealous pursuit of the monstrous War on Drugs. None of those victims are people like us, they're not human beings who actually matter. Who gives a damn what happens to them? These are among the hideous effects of the unrelentingly cruel and brutal reality America entered when it elected its first black president, a man who perfectly embodies the white authoritarian-corporatist-militarist State, and who ran as a white man. You elected -- and reelected -- a white man who is also a vicious killer. What did you expect?
I'm with these guys. Crocodile tears don't much impress me.