A Jolt From Obama ... Acceptance trumps all, regardless of circumstance
I happened to hear President Obama halfway into his remarks on the evening that the surviving Boston Marathon terrorist was captured. By pure happenstance, I caught the following sentences as the very first words I heard of his message to the nation. They were shocking, and they basically confirmed what I had suspected for ages. The first words I heard were, “... that American spirit includes remaining true to the diversity that makes us strong.” I get diversity, and I get inclusiveness and all that stuff. But in a short speech to calm a nation that once again was the victim of Islamic extremism, I could not for the life of me understand why the president was focusing on his same old mantra of diversity. And he kept on. Transcript-wise, he reached only the third full paragraph when he launched into this endless backpedaling and apologizing to any and all who might be offended by broad characterizations by most Americans and even the media. He stated that in the age of instant reporting, tweets and blogs, we should all resist any inclination to latch onto a “piece of information,” and he made clear “that is why we have the courts.” Well, that also made it pretty clear that we were not supposed to think these two, who caused folks to lose their lives or their limbs, were in any way terrorists, or linked to radical Islam, or that the government would ever treat the young man they had just arrested as an “enemy combatant.” The president stated that this 19-year-old man who had just been arrested an hour earlier would be going through the traditional court system. We, a shocked and stunned nation, were warned by the president not to jump to any conclusions or to embrace any stereotypical shoes, no matter how well they fit. President Obama’s comments, when reduced to print, were less than two pages in length. Yet much of those comments were spent reminding Americans that they should never rush to judgment, or associate any acts with any one group of people and that our country would continue to “welcome people of every faith and every ethnicity” to our nation. Now that all sounded great and very politically correct and the like, until put into context — and then it sounded like something else. Once again, a young Islamic extremist, allowed into this country, had launched an act of terror against innocent Americans. And once again the Obama White House seemed in a rush to remind all of us that diversity and acceptance trump everything — regardless of the circumstances. I get being fair-minded, open and objective — I think most of us get all of that. What I don’t get, and what has bothered me ever since I happened to turn the television on in the middle of his short statement, was how much President Obama seemed to focus on these subjects and how little he focused on the actions of a defiant terrorist. I could only imagine had a member of my family, or a neighbor, or a friend lost a limb due to this vicious attack, how I would have taken this one-sided address to the nation. As noted, we all know that America is a melting pot of people of all races and ethnicities. But let’s be clear, it didn’t take much time for authorities, once again, to trace what took place in Boston to a certain religion and a certain attitude about all that is American. One report last week suggests that a potential victim of the two brothers accused of the Marathon Bombings was actually spared his life by the two terrorists because he was not from this country. At a time when Americans were glued to their televisions, residents of an entire city had been locked in their homes, families were mourning those they had lost and other victims were still fighting for their lives, it seemed not only odd but actually offensive to have the president grab the airwaves with a message that, when truly examined, was intended to lecture us about political correctness one more time. As a columnist, I don’t get to read everything that every other columnist or pundit in the nation has written, so my apologies if I am late to comment on this presidential moment. I guess I was just so stunned by it that it took a week, and reading the actual text of President Obama’s comments, to truly sink in. It certainly was a lesson learned — just not the one the president likely wanted to deliver. Matt Towery heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage.