The legacy Obama dreads

Like all presidents, and probably more than most, President Obama is concerned about his legacy. Obama devoutly hopes that the following sentence will not appear in history books:

Although he was the first African-American elected president, race relations worsened during his time in office.

It’s not that Obama hates the idea of race relations worsening during his time in office. The idea of “no justice, no peace” may well appeal to him. But Obama doesn’t want to be remembered as a Black president under whom race relations worsened.

Accordingly, during an interview” with PBS, Obama stated that the nation is “probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided” than before. Race relations seem to have gotten worse not because they actually have, but because we’re talking about them more, Obama insisted.

But how does Obama know that in “day-to-day transactions” the nation is less racially divided? From all that appears, the only day-to-day transactions Obama has with ordinary Americans are with his golf caddies.

Al Sharpton is Obama’s go-to guy on race related issues. Does Sharpton agree that day-to-day race relations are getting better? And what day-to-day transactions does Sharpton have with ordinary white Americans, anyway?

Obama “assured” NPR that the issue of mistrust between police and minority communities isn’t new. He claimed, though, that it hasn’t been widely discussed until now, and that the current discussion is “probably healthy.”

But the problem that has surfaced under Obama isn’t “discussion” of police-community relations. The problem is race rioting and violence against the police.

The Ferguson rioting; the chants calling for “dead cops” now; the assassination and attempted assassination of police officers; the reluctance, or even the refusal, of the police to respond promptly to calls for help — these are phenomena we haven’t witnessed since the 1970s.

These phenomena aren’t “discussions,”and they certainly aren’t “healthy.” They are evidence of a deterioration in race relations and signs of a breakdown in society.

Obama has contributed to the deterioration and the breakdown. As I wrote here:

Obama and Holder look for occasions to pontificate in ways that undermine mutual trust and trust in institutions that maintain order. They seized, for example, on the unfortunate but justified killing of a thug who attacked a police officer in Missouri as the pretext for claims that law enforcement in this country is systematically unjust to African-Americans.

Shortly after this, they seized on what appears to have been an unjustified, but non-racially motivated, killing in Staten Island as the basis for pressing their divisive theme. . . .

[Their] statements were irresponsible because of their inherent tendency to destroy the balance that [Edmund] Burke described — the one that keeps the demons from overrunning our society.

Obama is right to fear that history’s judgment in these regards. History tends to be written mostly by liberals. But even some liberal historians may feel, at a minimum, that America’s first African-American president shouldn’t have left race relations in worse shape than he found them.

Responses