Making Things Worse
Our disastrous President went to Buffalo to grieve with the families of last weekend's disaster.
Theoretically, that's a good thing.
The first portion of his speech was admirable. He took time to appreciate the people who had to accommodate his visit, the police officers who responded to the crisis and, most importantly, he took a sentence or two to eulogize each of the victims. Undoubtedly, this was something hurriedly put together by staff and thrown on a teleprompter for him to read, but that's ok.*
It was appropriate and perhaps helpful.
Based on the first 10 minutes of his speech, you might think, "Hallelujah! We finally found something Joe can do!" At that point, you might be wishing he would have also gone to Waukesha ... and Brooklyn ... and Laguna Woods.
But, then, instead of simply ending with assurances that justice will be served and stumbling back onto Air Force One, he made it abundantly clear that this is not something he can do ... and why he didn't go to Waukesha or Brooklyn or Laguna Woods.
It was as though he had crafted a small and simple but beautiful sculpture ... and then put it on the ground, pulled down his pants and committed an Amber Heard all over it.
Even while saying "we're all children of God" and preaching against division, he cynically chose to try and divide us.
While extolling the virtue of America, he alluded to actions that likely violate the first two amendments of America's Constitution.
While railing against a "poison running through our body politic," he injected poison into our body politic.
While lecturing, "I condemn those who spread the lie for power, political gain and for profit," he spread a lie for power, political gain and profit.
While knowing full well he and his followers constantly peddle wide-spread divisive theories that foster animosity, he blamed an obscure conspiracy theory virtually no one had heard of as a prime generator of animosity.
If you had held out hope he could take just 15 minutes to be a real leader, or at least an empathic grandpa, those hopes were dashed. It was nauseatingly clear he came for one reason: to leverage this nightmare to create a "white supremacist" card he can use to "other" anyone who disagrees with him.
Hopefully, the victims and families of the tragedies he ghosted - because those tragedies didn't give him a narrative he could use for political advantage - are glad he didn't come.
* more than anything, of course, the beauty of the eulogy was a tribute to the lives of Celestine Chaney, Roberta Drury, Andre Mackneil, Katherine Massey, Marcus Morrison, Heyward Patterson, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Ruth Whitfield and Pearl Young - and the beautiful hearts and faith and memories of their loved ones who related their stories to staff. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of them.