About Americans he said,
At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions. And it is not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens, and finding our better selves in the process.
Those weren’t the words of Barack Obama today. Those were the words of George W. Bush. But they beautifully presaged what President Obama would try to do with his own speech in Dallas: help heal the recent wounds of a community, unify a nation, and call us to really find “our better selves” by “learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens.”
I won’t quote from Obama’s speech at the interfaith memorial service for the five police officers murdered last week in Dallas by an African-American man, an angry, radicalized man who sang and laughed at police after he gunned them down. I don’t really want to quote from Obama’s speech because you really should read, and see, it all. But I do want to say, once again, just how lucky we are to have Barack Obama as our president in times like these. As someone said to me, they couldn’t imagine Donald Trump giving such a speech. Very true. But honestly I can’t imagine Hillary Clinton giving a speech like that either. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone we currently know in American politics giving such a speech. For so many reasons, it really was remarkable.
Maybe, and sadly, it’s because President Obama has had so much practice.