Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Time to Heal

I was inspired by the Memorial Service that took place at McHale Arena tonight. The initial tone of a Political Rally + UofA Basketball Game put me off at first but then I too ran through the broad range of emotions that swept through the assembled crowd. Anger, profound sadness, pride, regret, pity, excitement, and others that may yet emerge from this veil of grief. Although the poor souls directly impacted by Saturday's shooting are united by more things then separated by differences (paraphrase President Obama), of the victims I personally knew only Congresswoman Giffords and her Tucson Chief of Staff Ron Barber.

In August (see blog August 11, 2010) the two of them visited the Sonoita region to learn more about the grape farming and wine business in this little corner of her district. It was seemingly a casual swing through our area on the way to a Democratic Party Fundraiser, so I was prepared for the usual self-serving political photo-op type of visit. Quite the opposite. The Congresswoman - "call me Gabby" - was gracious, interested, engaging, completely present and full of ideas about how to promote the region and bring some distinction to our toils. One week later after the hail storm that destroyed the 2010 crop, Ron Barber called to see how he could help and subsequently mobilized the resources of Gabby's office to eventually rally the regional USDA to our aid and with the help of the governor's office have the the area declared a federal disaster area. These are good people, the kind of people I want in my government.

Honest people may disagree about the proposition that our political dialogue contributed to this atrocity, but it is clear Gabby and Ron wanted to change the tenor of that dialogue. I hope first for their speedy and full recovery and secondly that we engage in more civilized political discourse.

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