The Weekend: Losers and Winners

Wow. The Steelers got Tebowed in Denver Sunday. Maybe the young quarterback does have a direct line to the head coach in the sky. Anyway, good for Tebow. Good for the Broncos. And good for the fans in Colorado and elsewhere. As I’ve opined previously, one of the virtues of pro football is its ability to unify communities in the days following the holidays and prior to the publication of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

But the Broncos weren’t the only winners — and Steelers the only losers — over the weekend.

The Republican presidential nominees participated in two debates that resembled a circular firing squad. And amazingly, they allowed two Democratic partisans to moderate the gabfests: George Stephanopoulos and David Gregory. Better to let Debbie Wasserman Schultz ask the questions. At least she has some credibility. Hard to find any winners here.

But there were plenty of winners as the residents of Tucson came together to mark the anniversary of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six innocent people.

It’s easy to sit in the bleachers and criticize members of Congress and others who are actively involved in our representative form of government. Yet it struck me a year ago — and I continue to believe today — that Gabby Giffords stands as a model for what is right about the USA and those who enter public service.

I don’t know if she is an effective representative for her constituents. I don’t even know if she is liberal or conservative. What I do know is that she took lead in the head from a lunatic while she was participating in democracy in its most basic form: out meeting and greeting people in her district.

Here’s from the Associated Press as reported on NPR, “Giffords, Tucson Mark 1 Year Since Shooting“:

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords led a crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, her words ringing out across a cold Tucson night in a rare public appearance Sunday evening at a candlelight vigil one year after surviving a deadly shooting that killed six.

The Democratic congresswoman stepped onstage to cheers from the crowd. Ron Barber, a staffer who was wounded in a deadly shooting one year ago, invited her to lead the audience in the pledge.

The crowd chanted: “Gabby, Gabby.”

She limped to the podium, and husband Mark Kelly helped lift her left hand over her heart. After a year in which she has struggled to speak, Giffords recited the pledge with the audience, head held high and a smile on her face as she punched each word.

The remembrance at the University of Arizona capped off a day of events, including a church service that drew hundreds in the afternoon and a citywide bell-ringing at 10:11 a.m., the exact time a gunman started shooting at a Safeway political event.

With hugs and tears, southern Arizonans remembered the dead, the shattered lives and those who acted heroically after a gunman opened fire at an outdoor meet-and-greet that severely wounded Giffords and killed six.

I guess some things are even more important than pro football.

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