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Culture Beat / Jul. 18, 2016

Division or Unity? Baton Rouge Reflections

Obama's two-faced lectures on racism and police.

Americans are yet again seeking to come to grips with a racially motivated attack on police. Three officers were murdered in Baton Rouge Sunday by a former Nation of Islam member. “Everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further,” Barack Obama said. “We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or advance an agenda.” Well said. The trouble is America has listened to Obama over these last seven and a half years and has seen and heard little in the way of unifying action or non-agenda driven rhetoric. Just the opposite — few have been more divisive with inflammatory rhetoric meant only to score political points than Obama.

Case in point: When reflecting on the Louisiana murders Sunday, Obama chastised police: “If police organizations and departments acknowledge that there’s a [race] problem and there’s an issue, then that, too, is going to contribute to real solutions. And, as I said yesterday, that is what’s going to ultimately help make the job of being a cop a lot safer.” So if “racist cops” just admit they’re racist, this will all clear up.

His statements on law enforcement and race relations have fomented division rather than brought unity. In his speeches after several mass murders he has sought to push his anti-gun agenda by focusing on the availability of guns as being the primary problem, not on the criminals committing these horrible crimes. He has continually chastised those who disagree with his political views as being driven by selfishness and a lack of concern for the plight of others. He has refused to enforce immigration laws with which he disagrees and yet he has stood and proclaimed, “America is a nation of laws, which means I, as the president, am obligated to enforce the law.” He called the Baton Rouge murders an “attack on Rule of Law.” This from the personification of disregard for Rule of Law.

So, as America copes with the recent atrocities in Baton Rouge and Dallas and seeks solutions to the growing unrest and divisions, we’d love to believe that Obama will follow his own advice on unity. That he will not use this latest tragedy to push his political agenda, but that he will seek to stand for those unifying principles that our Founding Fathers so carefully laid as our nation’s foundation. But we’re also not naïve. Obama’s track record is utterly at odds with true racial healing.

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