The Obama factor (6)

The White House has posted the full text of President Obama’s speech at the memorial service for the murdered Dallas police officers here. I hadn’t found it when I commented on the speech yesterday afternoon based on the video. I want to add this brief additional note.

It’s much easier to read the speech than to watch it. Obama is so full of himself — so aware of himself performing — that the video is almost unwatchable. He cannot fake sincerity. He is a transparent phony.

The office of the presidency makes the occupant both head of state and head of government. Some occasions call on the president to act as head of state. In my opinion, the memorial service yesterday was one such occasion.

President Bush spoke as a Texan, a Dallas resident and a former president. His remarks demonstrate a perfect sense of occasion. He set a good example.

Regardless of the circumstances, Obama insists on advancing his political cause. He declines to confine himself to serving ceremonial purposes. If he has a sense of propriety, he happily violates it to serve higher purposes. He takes the same attitude toward the rule of law.

Obama briefly addressed the rule of law in his remarks yesterday. Obama joins Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon among the presidents who have fomented cynicism and disrespect for the rule of law. Obama seems to address the subject with a lack of self-consciousness, but he knows exactly what he is doing. He is using our love of the rule of law to advance his cause.

Obama’s remarks yesterday can be divided into two parts. In the first half he acts as the ceremonial head of state, memorializing the officers. He expresses our grief over their loss and our gratitude for their service.

In the second half of the speech Obama seeks to advance his political cause. He turns the death of the officers and the memorial service to his own purposes. In so doing, he violates the propriety of the occasion. It’s simply wrong.

The transition occurs roughly around the place where Obama asserts: “We know that the overwhelming majority of police officers do an incredibly hard and dangerous job fairly and professionally.” And then a few seconds later we have this:

[W]e know — but, America, we know that bias remains. We know it. Whether you are black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or of Middle Eastern descent, we have all seen this bigotry in our own lives at some point. We’ve heard it at times in our own homes. If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts. We know that. And while some suffer far more under racism’s burden, some feel to a far greater extent discrimination’s sting. Although most of us do our best to guard against it and teach our children better, none of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune. And that includes our police departments. We know this.

And so when African Americans from all walks of life, from different communities across the country, voice a growing despair over what they perceive to be unequal treatment; when study after study shows that whites and people of color experience the criminal justice system differently, so that if you’re black you’re more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested, more likely to get longer sentences, more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime; when mothers and fathers raise their kids right and have “the talk” about how to respond if stopped by a police officer — “yes, sir,” “no, sir” — but still fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door, still fear that kids being stupid and not quite doing things right might end in tragedy — when all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid. (Applause.) We can’t simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism. To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and coworkers and fellow church members again and again and again — it hurts. Surely we can see that, all of us.

Here we have the myth of a racist criminal justice system. Here we have the big lie of unequal treatment in “study after study.”

Obama is a partisan of the Black Lives Matter crowd, but he seeks to hold himself out in his Dallas speech as the great conciliator. He advocates an open heart and he seeks to bring us all together under the banner of Black Lives Matter. It’s part of the gospel according to Reverend Wright.


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