Very powerful, and very challenging. It was a call to put anger aside and to deal with our problems in an unselfish and patriotic way.
It’s hard when the pain of this assault is still fresh and accusations are flying, but I’ll try.
The invocation by Dr.Carlos Gonzalez who performed a Yaqui blessing, was moving and appropriate. Those of us who are Pagans have participated in such prayers, calls to the four directions and blessing the people and animals on earth. Video of Dr. Gonzalez is here.
Dr. Gonzalez is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Arizona, and he was one of several speakers associated with the university. The invocation has drawn criticism by some who felt a Native American blessing had no place at a public event. The Wild Hunt covers the controversy here.
There were many readings from the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, and Biblical references were interwoven in the speeches. The ceremony went off flawlessly.
It matters a great deal to be included. The recognition of the First Americans, the diversity of the distinguished speakers, the words from Daniel Hernandez– this was balm for the soul…
Remember how great it looked and felt and sounded, when things inevitably get ugly again. Reagan-appointed Supreme Court Justice Sandra O’Connor, now retired, sat admiringly next to Daniel Hernandez Jr., the 20-year-old Gabrielle Giffords intern who helped save her life Saturday (who happens to be gay and Mexican American). Attorney General Eric Holder was side by side with Gov. Jan Brewer, whose racial profiling law he’s fighting. The service began with an Indian blessing from Dr. Carlos Gonzales, who described his mother as Mexican, his father as a Yaqui survivor of “genocide,” and his son as a soldier in Afghanistan, who praised “this great country, where a poor barrio kid from the south side of Tucson could get an education at a fine institution like the University of Arizona – and then, even better, come back and teach here.”
The static is already hissing, but we are challenged to take the high ground. Just for now, let’s see how that feels.