From The Associated Press:
DALLAS (AP) — President Barack Obama urged Americans rattled by a week of violence and protests to find “open hearts” and new empathy Tuesday in a speech that seesawed between honoring police officers for their bravery and decrying racial prejudice that can affect their work.
Obama spoke near five empty chairs for the white police officers killed last week by a black man seeking vengeance for police killings. Behind him, underscoring his message of unity: Dallas police officers, a racially diverse church choir and local officials who ranged from black Police Chief David Brown to former President George W. Bush, a Dallas resident.
Obama sought to reassure the nation that he understands the impact of the unsettling events of the past week – including the killing of two black men by white police officers as well as the Dallas attacks.
Disturbing videos of the events have “left us wounded and angry and hurt,” he said.
“It is as if the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened.”
Undaunted, the president urged Americans to cast aside such doubt and replace it with faith in the nation’s institutions and progress.
“Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds,” he said.
The president spoke steps away from the chairs left empty for the five men killed last Thursday while protecting hundreds of people protesting the killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. The Army veteran killed by police after the Dallas attack said he was motivated by …