Some conservatives expressed confusion over the “pep rally” vibe of the crowd at Wednesday’s Tucson memorial service, in part because of the free “Together We Thrive” t-shirts that were distributed to attendees.
“I went to a Massacre Rally and all I got was a lousy t-shirt” and “I will live-tweet Obama’s Massacre T-Shirt Rally Theatre of the Absurd. Fox live now, Piano music, applause, sounds like a partaay!”
Many commentators felt the memorial service was no place for merchandising. Hot Air published a blog post by blogger AllahPundit that states, “I can’t say I’m cheered by the overt ‘branding,’ replete with … souvenir t-shirts? It may not be the White House that’s behind it, but then, we no longer need facts to blame politicians for stuff they didn’t do.”
Amanda Carpenter, a speech writer for Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint and former Townhall.com reporter, tweeted, “I’m having a physical reaction to the T-shirts…I’m tearing up. This feels wrong.” The tweet has since been removed from her Twitter page.
Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin took to her blog to blast the handling of the service and t-shirts. “Yes, the Tucson massacre is being branded…Attendees at the memorial tonight report that they are being handed out the blue and white t-shirts as they enter the venue…Isn’t the churning of the instant messaging machine a bit, well, unseemly?”
National Review’s Rich Lowry commended President Barack Obama’s memorial service speech but condemned the environment in which it was held.
“The pep-rally atmosphere was inappropriate and disconcerting,” Lowry wrote in a blog post.
One memorial service attendee tweeted, “At Tucson memorial. Received Together We Thrive t shirt. Is it required wearing to get in?”