-By Warner Todd Huston
Last night in Arizona someone planned a memorial service and a pep rally broke out. In a wildly inappropriate display of mirth, rock star adulation, screams from the crowd and raucous applause the purported memorial service held at University of Arizona for those that fell at the hands of a crazed shooter earlier in the week went badly awry Wednesday night.
Nothing this gauche has been seen since the classless memorial turned pep rally held for Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone that got so many in trouble back in 2002.
The tenor of the event lacked propriety throughout even as the speeches themselves were for the most part perfectly alright. In fact, a whole weird vibe was set at the very beginning of the memorial with pseudo Indian medicine man, Carlos Gonzales. He began the off kilter scene by his pseudo Indian blessing of rocks and trees, northern doors, and... well, whatever he was blessing, anyway. His self-referential promotion was also quite off-putting.
Arizona University President Richard Shelton was also wholly inappropriate in the way he emceed this pep rally His fawning introduction of President Obama, for instance, was absurd and out of place. He introduced the president as if Obama were about to bound upon the stage for a campaign appearance. Very badly done.
Fortunately President Obama's speech was very well crafted and generally delivered properly -- except that he had to raise his voice at times to be heard over the foolish reaction of the audience. Obama's speech was perfectly fine. He didn't focus on himself for a change and that right there is an improvement over most of his speeches.
The Governor Arizona's, Napolitano's and Holder's short addresses were also fine, really. In fact, aside from U of A President Shelton and the hokey medicine man all the speeches were fine. The problem here was the raucous crowd reaction to the program.
Have we forgotten how to act as a nation in mourning? Have we forgotten how to be somber?
There was a time when Americans mourned in a respectable manner. Women would wear black dresses with hats featuring a gauzy black veil. Men would don suits, fedoras and sport black crepe ribbons on their coat sleeves. People would stand silent, heads bowed as they prayed or at the very least delivered respectful contemplation for the fate of the fallen.
Today, after our fellow citizens have been murdered by a madman, we have events where giddy teens applaud speakers like they were attending rock concerts or a school pep rally. I kept waiting for someone to yell out "Go Wildcats." In fact, there was so much screaming by the fools in the crowd that one of them may well have yelled a go-team slogan!
Apparently, someone needs to grab these punk kids that attended this rally by the scruff of the neck and teach them what the word "respect" means. It was all a pretty sad display.
Naturally, I've already been attacked by a wild-eyed lefty who needed to turn this into politics As I was Tweeting and Facebooking my displeasure at the way the crowd was reacting to this speech, a lefty on Twitter named nathanielrallen said that I was only attacking the memorial because it was a "Democrat" memorial.
"I wonder if this were a GOP led memorial if @warnerthuston would have as much to say," this creep said on Twitter.
Of course, I never said word one about Republicans or Democrats. This event had nothing at all to do with Democrats or Republicans. Those of the fallen were from both parties, in fact. But this lefty had to drag politics into my criticism.
In any case, this whole rally was just badly played by those at U of A that planned the thing. It is a shame, really. This event was really ruined and turned from something that could have been a healing event into an inappropriate pep rally.