Just think back to January 2011, after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot by a maniac outside a grocery store in Arizona. President Barack Obama had some deep, meaning comments at the remembrance ceremony following that tragedy:
“Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together. … Let’s make sure it’s not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.”
The country was moved by Obama’s remarks, and his poll numbers after the speech showed the public appropriately reacted.
However, Mr. Obama has never lived up to those lofty standards. He seems unable, or more likely unwilling, to criticize persons on his side of the aisle when their behavior crosses the line. He has no problem complaining about his political opponents, however…even when their actions pale in comparison. In other words, he is making sure that his choice rhetoric originates from the “usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.”
The labor riots in Lansing, Michigan over the new Right to Work laws in that state were a perfect moment for Mr. Obama to step up and be the true moral leader he proclaims to be. This is not about crushing dissent; there were many union protesters that behaved decently and went about their business opposing the law, as is their fundamental right under the First Amendment. But for those that attacked opponents, with direct violence (including Steven Crowder, shown below in the video being punched by a union worker), there should have been no cover from Presidential criticism.
However both the White House in general and President Obama in particular passed on the opportunity to call for a civil discourse. And this is far from the first time.
I for one do believe we need more civility in public discourse, but this President is responsible for creating less civility and more discord by his silence at times. If you cannot tell your friends (in this case, the unions) that they are behaving badly, why should those opposing you ever take you seriously?
Mr. Obama has never elevated his actions to the level of his lofty rhetoric. And for that, America is worse off.