President Obama’s speech to the nation on December 6, 2015 was masterful. (Sorry if the important message interrupted your TV program or football game.)
The stately speech was Lincolnesque in format (15 minutes), terse, tender and to the point. “Haters gotta hate,” so, many in media, bloggers and Republican bloviators running for the presidency responded (pre-planned) with “he doesn’t care;” he is weak;” “he doesn’t do enough to protect us;” “his heart wasn’t in it.”
They know his heart? Or is the problem their own heartlessness? So much for traditional respect for the office or national unity. The speech also echoed Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” He brought us out of the Great Depression and President Obama saved us from a second one. Paul Krugman believes (Rolling Stone) President Obama will go down in history as one of “great” Presidents; he places him after FDR and LBJ. I agree.
President Obama’s theme: “Freedom is more powerful than fear.” He stressed our success (in confronting ISIS) “won’t depend on tough talk, or on abandoning American Values, or giving into fear.” Who leaps to mind? Trump, the media and candidates who will not call out that Mussolini-poseur Fascist. Yes, we must be “strong and smart” but that does not include bravado and divisive, anti-religious, anti-constitutional rhetoric. You really prefer such talk? You have plenty of demagogues to choose from. Who will pander the loudest, longest? The “winner” in that race to the bottom is threatening our national security.
President Obama responded with measured tones. Sorry if his calmness disappointed you. He stressed a punchy list of “do’s and don’ts.” 1. We DO hunt down foreign (and, I hope, domestic) terrorists. 2. We DO deploy Special Ops Forces. 3. We DO train Middle-East forces. 4. We cooperate with allies to disrupt plots. 5. We DO work with loyal Muslim American communities to counter-act ideological extremism. I would suggest we develop ways to do the same with main-stream Christian communities, urging them to reject anti-immigrant, un-American hypocrites in their midst. 6. We DO continue to negotiate to end the Syrian civil war. I suggest improved diplomacy with Iran in the mix.
The “DON’TS” are even more important. 1. We DON’T reject American values of respect for all religions. 2. We DON’T further divide our people with savage, inhumane rhetoric. 3. We DON’T plunge the U.S. into a further protracted war which Congressional War-Hawks and pandering presidential candidates want. Such a war is what ISIS wants too. It plays directly into their hands. 4. We DON’T allow Republicans in Congress to vote AGAINST common sense laws that would restrict guns from those on “no-fly” lists. I would add, we DON’T allow Republicans in Congress to REJECT aid—as they have—for “First Responders” suffering from illnesses after their heroic actions following 9/11.
So, you think the Commander-in-Chief knows less than you do? The President is not “tough enough?” You would rather “Bomb ‘em back to the Stone Age?” You say “Halt entry of all refugees?” You would stop any Muslim (one-fourth of the world) from entering the U.S.? If that is your mantra or you silently accept Trumpisms of that sort without retort, then please examine your American history, your logic, your soul. As for me and my house, we will respect the Presidency, glad in the knowledge he respects us and acts to continue to protect us, faithful Americans of this once unified nation, “conceived in liberty.” We add “Amen” to the President’s closing prayer of “God Bless America.”