In a rare show of unity across all political stripes, President Obama and First Lady Michelle were joined in Dallas by former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura to pay tribute to the five fallen police officers who died in last week’s ambush.
For most of the ceremony, the mood was somber and unusually non-partisan. Bush even seemed to take a minor dig at his party’s current nominee when he condemned discriminating against any group based on the actions of a few.
Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.
Obama gave a speech that was so powerful that it even knocked the socks off of his own former speechwriter.
Obama's Dallas speech is context, perspective, thoughtfulness, and most of all hope. It's what we rarely get from the news. We need it.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 12, 2016
As we’ve come to expect from Obama’s eulogies, the message was compassionate and inspirational in equal measure.
Scripture tells us that in our sufferings, there is glory, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Sometimes the truths of these words are hard to see. Right now, those words test us because the people of Dallas, people across the country are suffering.
We’re here to honor the memory and mourn the loss of five fellow Americans, to grieve with their loved ones, to support this community, and pray for the wounded, and to try and find some meaning amidst our sorrow.
However, the respectful nature didn’t last. During a moving rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Bush clasped hands with Michelle Obama – and started rocking out with a smile on his face. It was… out of place. And Michelle was visibly stunned that it was happening.
Her expression says it all.
The look on Michelle Obama's face as Bush starts rocking out at a funeral is everything. https://t.co/oeurpjGr0o
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) July 12, 2016
Watching a former president grin and dance along during a funeral was odd. At times it seemed almost as if Bush had forgotten where he was or the tragedy that had brought him there.
Understandably, the Obamas appear to be completely mortified by the display. And unfortunately, they were left to stand there next to it as it was captured for all time by photographs and video. It should have been a moment to honor fallen heroes, and Bush managed to botch it.
Featured image via Tom Pennington/Getty Images