This is What a Presidential Speech Looks Like in the Wake of El Paso and Dayton

Obama immigration

From Barack Obama’s Facebook page today:

Michelle and I grieve with all the families in El Paso and Dayton who endured these latest mass shootings. Even if details are still emerging, there are a few things we already know to be true.

First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States. No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do. Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.

Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy. Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups.

But just as important, all of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy. We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people. Such language isn’t new – it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much – clearly and unequivocally.

It’s almost as if Obama, out of love of country, could not just stand by and let Trump have the last word.

7 thoughts on “This is What a Presidential Speech Looks Like in the Wake of El Paso and Dayton

  1. Ed,

    You are onto something here. Most of us who post here are interested in these subjects and apparently have ample time to do a bit of outside reading on some of these subjects. The average American has a largely different set of concerns. Kids have to be driven to extra curricular activities and to the doctor, bills have to be paid, the house needs repairing, the dog got loose, the car needs new tires, there’s a sale on back-to-school clothes, etc. Most people don’t seriously start reflecting about presidential politics until the September or October every four years.

    You are also correct about the SOTU. There is scant remembrance of them a week or two after each one. They are nothing but anachronistic political theater. The Constitutional requirement surely could be met through other means.


  2. Italy tough problem. Mention has been made of policing the internet to keep out these extremists that stir people up.
    Problem is who gets to draw the line. Maybe that is easier than I imagine.


  3. Not demeaning the tragedy – just stating that whatever Donald or Barack say in such instances is soon forgotten and just throw-away stuff. John makes a big deal out of comparing the two statements because of his dislike of Trump, but in the end both statements are inconsequential, like those yearly SOTU addresses that are one of the most useless antics in American politics.


  4. *In the context of my previous disagreements with Ed I should probably clearify that my intention was not to offend Ed with the Juxtaposition. I think Ed is correct, and I intend for my juxtaposition to be offensive to EVERYONE.


  5. I guess terrorist attacks are normal now?
    “I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who…” “what speech?” “who cares?”


  6. I imagine for around 300 million people or so in the country, the response to either what Obama said or Trump said is “what speech?” or “who cares?” Whether it’s a national prayer breakfast speech or something like Obama’s post thrown into the mix in the aftermath of tragedies of various natures, most of us don’t pay attention and/or just don’t care what politicians, past or present, say. A few handfuls may find comfort if they were directly impacted, but for the rest of us what a politician says at times like these or at some speech somewhere else is about as important as last night’s episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. It’s just ignored unless we happen to catch the evening news that night – or come across it on your “favorite historian’s” blog post. 😛

    A week from now, nobody living in the real world will care what Obama said or what Trump said or how either or them said it and will probably forget either said anything – well, they would, but I suspect until at least November 2020 we’ll be reminded of what Trump said or be told what he should have said or how Obama did it better. There’s more important things in life to worry about than what the latest National Nanny says.


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