Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I'm moved beyond belief right now. I just listened to the entire evening's coverage of "Together We Thrive: Tucson & America." The evening began with Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," a very emotional piece of music written by a proud gay Jewish man. A Native American offered the opening prayer, and it was beautiful in its simplicity and inclusiveness. Daniel Hernandez, the 20 year old intern that is credited with saving Congresswoman Gifford's life in the first few minutes, is an openly gay Latino, a fiercely proud American absolutely deserving of the title "hero." He spoke with great humility of those he felt were the "real" heroes, the first responders, the staff at the hospital, the people that rushed the shooter and shielded their spouses. When the President and the First Lady came out, they hugged Hernandez and he was seated at the President's right side—Hernandez IS a hero, whether he calls himself one or not.

Along with all the other great moments, tonight showed the world that gay people are every bit as great, as honorable, as worthy of respect as anyone else in this country. The right-wingnuts are already freaking out, and let them. They're small-minded individuals—I have no time for them in my life.

President Obama's speech not only knocked it out of the park, he knocked it out of the park in the next state over, evoking the image of Christine Green, the nine-year old child that was gunned down like an animal that day. He evoked her spirit, her child-like uncynical view of the world we all really need to live up to. I really think this was Obama's finest hour of his political career. I really feel this was his "I Have a Dream" speech and will be looked back at in the future with the same reverence as Dr. King's. I'm sure there will be YouTubes of it, and transcripts you can find if you missed it tonight.

I was commenting and posting at Joe.My.God at the same time the evening was unfolding. Many "first timers" there also known as "the Right" most likely, were complaining about the raucous crowds, the cheers, the standing ovations, their perceived lack of "decorum" for a "solemn memorial." I couldn't disagree more. I found it to be a relevant celebration of life, a loud celebration of lives lost and heroes gained and an uplifting outline for our future.

Personally, I want fabulous '70s disco as well as David Bowie and Pink Floyd to be played REALLY loudly at my own memorial some time in the future. I want people dancing and laughing, doing shots of tequila, smoking joints, whatever they enjoy the most, celebrating their lives as well as mine. I want everyone to have a smile in their hearts as well as their faces, as they remember me. I really don't feel black clothes and hushed whispers will work for me. I thought tonight was just wonderful and moving beyond my expectations.

Right now, I just had to post my feelings in real time.
  • Here's link to the Maddow Blog, with the speech in its entirety. Thanks for Katie N.J. for furnishing the link!


  1. Right on, Casey. I don't think it was intended to be a memorial, rather as you say a celebration of healing and coming together and acknowledgment of lives. Letting us know about the real people who were killed and hurt in a moment of insanity.

    I posted on my Facebook a simple: I am proud of our President Obama.

    He came across as that person I was privileged to meet almost two years ago. He is an honorable and kind person who took time to help us all get through all this.

    Thank you Casey for your kind post.

  2. Brilliant, Casey, just brilliant.

    Thanks for letting me know your wishes, lol, you know I'll be partying hard if I'm still around. When my dad passed away in 1979 we could not bury him in a dark suit. He NEVER wore dark suits. He was vibrant and eccentric, and was known to wear very "flashy" clothes. Sometimes he actually clashed, but that was Dad.

  3. Casey, Mare's mom was injured yesterday. She explains it on her blog. :( So you know

  4. Amen, Casey. No one could have said this better.

    As to your final wishes, when my friend Tom Johnston -- part of the Saint crowd I ran with in the early 80s -- died in 1986 -- 25 years ago -- where does the time go? -- his memorial was in a lovely Presbyterian church on Madison Avenue in the 30s. It was all very civil and at the end, at his request, they played "Last Dance" really loud! It really broke the gloom and the reception afterwards was very lively and fun, just as Tom intended!

    Paul, NYC

  5. thank you, everyone. "Last Dance' would work for me! We chose one of my Dad's bright "clashy" ties also, one that my mother and I always made fun of but that he enjoyed, lol.

    Annie: thanks, I went to Mare's blog and left a message.

  6. I love your plans for your memorial, Casey! When my best friend died 5 years ago, we had a big party afterward at an Amvets. He was Irish and we had to drink quite a few toasts to him. LOL

    Here is a video of last night's President Obama speech in its entirety:


  7. Thanks, Katie. I put the link on the first page with the post.

  8. You said it beautifully, Casey. Thank you.

  9. I thought it was a wonderful tribute/celebration also. Loved your post.