Early Friday morning in Aurora, Colo., we were reminded that there remains in the world the existence of pure, sociopathic evil — an inhuman monster who celebrates death and has no sensations from a beating heart of feelings, empathy or anything other than the glorification of death.
The impulse to extrapolate, exploit and, yes, politicize such a tragedy is hard to overcome. As my Republican friend and fellow blogger Rich Galen wrote on Sunday night:
“I do not want to diminish, in any way, the gravity and horror of the event that occurred in Aurora, Colo., Friday morning. … There are no easy answers. There are no black-and-white solutions. Sometimes bad people do bad things.”
Two men, however — one is our president; the other would like to be — came forward and reminded us who they really are and made us feel good about them, ourselves and our country again.
President Obama, talking to what was supposed to be a political rally in Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday morning, about 11 hours after the tragedy, spoke the right words with the right tone and made us proud that he was our president, regardless of party or partisan loyalties.
“If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy, it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and precious.
“My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater?
“There are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.”
About an hour later, on the East Coast in Bow, N.H., Mitt Romney said:
“I stand before you not as a man running for office, but as a father and grandfather, a husband and American.”
Romney also offered the serenity of a man of faith, and tried to provide a sense of hope even in the midst of the incomprehensible and senseless murders of innocent people.
“Today we feel not only a sense of grief, but perhaps also of helplessness. But there is something we can do,” Romney said. “We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy-laden. We can mourn with those that mourn in Colorado.”
He went on to quote a verse in 2nd Corinthians: “Blessed be God who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble.”
“What we do know is how evil is overcome, and we’re seeing that great power today in the goodness and compassion of a wounded community,” he said.
I wondered: How many Americans who heard these two men taking a time-out from the venom and name-calling of this campaign felt like I did when I heard their comments on Friday — as if a cool breeze had cut through the stifling hot air of this depressing presidential campaign?