President Obama must hate giving these speeches in the wake of mass shooting tragedies, yet he keeps on going even as he is visibly aware that his time in the White House is running out. His speech today in Dallas was both no exception, and exceptional. The Dallas Morning News editorial board covered it:
Dallas' response in the days since five of our police officers were murdered demonstrates that our city can help show America how to heal its divisions over race and ease tensions over police violence.
That was the message President Barack Obama delivered Tuesday, and we couldn't agree more.
The shooter, Obama noted, was motivated by racial hatred, but the white officers he killed had been motivated by love and service. Dallas has responded with more love and unity in the days since.
That's a recipe for hope, the president said.
"We are not as divided as we seem," he said. "And I know that because I know America. I know how far we've come against impossible odds. ... And I know it because of what we've seen here in Dallas."
We weren't waiting for the President to tell us we've done what is right. We feel it in our bones, and see it in our neighbors' faces. But the words are welcome anyway.
The truth is, even before any of Tuesday's speeches, the service at the Meyerson Symphony Hall was poignant and pitch-perfect. It was an appropriate capstone for five painful days that, despite our tears, have showed Dallas at its best.
Barack Obama truly believes America is better than the deaths of black people, the deaths of police protecting a protest of police, the blazing hatred that has shown its ugly head nearly every day of this man's presidency. He believes we are better.
Even when we do not.
"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I've seen how inadequate my own words have been," he said.
He went beyond words, however, when he urged us to confront the racism we too often ignore. It is real, and the protesters like the ones in our streets last Thursday speak from places of pain and desperation. We must hear them even as we honor our police.
That's what Dallas can do, and the good news is we've already begun.
As Obama said: "Weeping may endure for a night but I'm convinced joy comes in the morning."
I'm weary of waiting for that joy. I'm tired of shouting into the night and expecting the sun to come up. I'm tired of an entire political party dedicated to making everyone but themselves miserable. I'm tired of being considered a dangerous, mindless brute and hearing from people I trust and even love that my experiences aren't happening, can't be happening in this America in 2016. I'm tired of the psychic damage delivered offhand by someone who never has truly wanted for anything.
Barack Obama has been through that times a million. And yet he keeps going.
That does give me hope.