The Hollow, Obligatory Words of Our 44th President
Back in 2008, when Barack Obama was first campaigning for president, I paid a great deal of attention to his speeches, not because I was attempting to make up my mind whether he was fit to be president (that he was not was already a foregone conclusion), but because I wanted to get to know the man who was about to become the next leader of the free world, and the next protector and defender of the Constitution of the United States.
But by the spring of that year I made a vow to avoid listening to him speak, whenever possible, and to simply seek out reports made by other trusted listeners who would summarize his comments: Charles Krauthammer, Bill Whittle, Mark Alexander, Thomas Sowell, and the like. That vow was the result of having heard, firsthand, his infamous opinion regarding small town Pennsylvanians (of whom I am one). Since that day, I have valued my peace of mind more than I value anything this president has to say.
Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there is no evidence of that in their daily lives. And you know in some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest … it’s not surprising that they get bitter and they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Fast forward five years.
While working and listening to the news this morning, the statement the president made following the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev came on FoxNews. So I sat down and watched, and listened. I should have known better than to break a well-considered five-year-old promise to myself, but I suppose I was caught in a weak moment, curious to hear what this president might have to say about a terrorist attack that was, at least in part, the result of his de-emphasis (vast understatement) of the war on terror.
Maybe I am more attuned to his demeanor when he speaks than most people are, simply because I am not used to watching him. I suspect that when a person is immersed in something on a regular basis, he/she tends to become immune to its characteristics; whereas, when a person witnesses something only infrequently, he/she tends to take note of its peculiarities.
What struck me most about the speech was his complete lack of passion or conviction when he was discussing the ‘tragedy’ (actually a terrorist act) and the courage and conviction of those who responded to it. It was as if he were a high school student delivering an oral report on a subject about which he has absolutely no interest. You know: ‘Some of the natural resources of Papua New Guinea are gold, tea, oil palm, timber and rubber’ (suppressed yawn, accompanied by minor fidgeting).
The only time in the talk during which he became animated, or portrayed any conviction, was when he spoke about ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ (or what passes for the leftist definition of both):
That American spirit includes staying true to the unity and diversity that makes us strong, like no other nation in the world. In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions. But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right. That’s why we have investigations. That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts. That’s why we have courts. And that’s why we take care not to rush to judgment, not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people.
After all, one of the things that makes America the greatest nation on Earth, but also, one of the things that makes Boston such a great city, is that we welcome people from all around the world, people of every faith, every ethnicity, from every corner of the globe. So as we continue to learn more about why and how this tragedy happened, let’s make sure that we sustain that spirit.
The president of the United States, when addressing the people of the United States, exhibited little genuine feeling when referring to a deadly terrorist act that resulted in several deaths and nearly two hundred gruesome injuries. He displayed an equivalent lack of passion when referencing the courage and determination displayed by Americans after the terrorist act.
Yet he felt the need to passionately remind us all that we should not be racially or ethnically discriminatory as a result of our terrible loss, and our anger. He believes that America is composed of such people. He believes that, without his condescending advice, we would all act upon our baser instincts and paint innocent people with broad, black stereotypical brushes. He believes that Americans embrace a lynch mob mentality, always prepared to make hasty generalizations, without basis, and brand innocent people as evil, just because of the color of their skin, their national origin, or their political agenda.
Maybe it’s time for the president of the United States to start following his own advice, at least to a degree. Maybe it’s time for him to connect the dots and stop catering to nations and people who seek the destruction of the country he ‘leads’. Maybe it’s time for him to stop stocking his pool of advisors with Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers, or stop sending jet fighter aircraft to countries run by them.
I contend that the president of the United States is significantly more focused on ethnicity, country of origin, and political agenda than is the average American, and that focus is working to our detriment. The fact that he sees fit to warn us against such a mindset is not only insulting, but it serves as a smokescreen. Americans need to begin to pay attention to what is behind that smokescreen before it clears permanently and we can no longer do anything about what we see.