Eulogies by President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush Tuesday praised the call to duty of the five police officers gunned down in Dallas last week. Both presidents also sounded the call to America to put aside differences and work toward the common good.
Acknowledging that police officers and their families know “each new day can bring new dangers,” Bush said “none of us…could be prepared for an ambush by hatred and malice.” He added “too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions and this has strained our bonds of understanding common purpose.”
Obama observed the nation was not as divided at it may seem. He addressed both sides of the “black vs. blue” debate, saying “an overwhelming majority of police officers do an incredibly hard and dangerous job fairly and professionally,” but are undermined when broadly depicted as biased or bigoted.
He also noted that no one is “entirely innocent” of having bigoted thoughts or feelings, including police departments….we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protests troublemakers or paranoid…or a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism.”
It will take more than words of two presidents to bring these polarizing issues closer to the middle.
President Obama’s Powerful Speech Was Full of Truth, Pain and Hope
Editorial Board – Dallas Morning News
Former President George W. Bush…reminded us, too, that Americans can dream their biggest dreams when men and women in uniform stand guard. He added, gently, that those guardians do best when they are trusted, trained and accountable.
But it was Obama who said the things that most needed saying….
“I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change. I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been,” he said.
He went beyond words, however, when he urged us to confront the racism we too often ignore. It is real, and the protesters like the ones in our streets last Thursday speak from places of pain and desperation. We must hear them even as we honor our police.
That’s what Dallas can do, and the good news is we’ve already begun.
How Obama Ruined His Dallas Memorial Speech
John Podhoretz – New York Post
For 15 minutes, the president’s speech was — and this is a word I use advisedly — magnificent….
[H]e was making certain arguments with which I did not agree — but because his tone was so beautifully modulated and his argumentation so civil, the president himself got me to listen, pay attention, and respect the seriousness of his contentions.
And then he blew it….by going on for almost 25 more minutes, repeating himself endlessly, and broadening his specific focus to a more general preachment about how “we” need to “open our hearts” on the subject of race.
By far the most jaw-dropping was his assertion that it’s easier for a poor kid in a struggling neighborhood to get a Glock than a book. That’s not presidential.
Has Barack Obama Hurt Race Relations?
Frank Bruni – The New York Times
I have many qualms about Barack Obama’s presidency….
But I cry foul at the complaint that he has significantly aggravated racial animosity and widened the racial divide in this country….
He painted a profoundly admiring portrait of cops, asking their detractors to consider how it feels to be “unfairly maligned” by hyperbolic cries of pervasive police misconduct. Then he painted a profoundly sympathetic portrait of protesters, explaining why so many African-Americans feel “unfairly targeted.”
If he were an “aggrieved black activist,” he wouldn’t have been able to shrug off Joe Biden’s 2007 comment that he was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean” and then make Biden his vice president and friend.
Obama Tramples on High Ideals of America, Fuels Black Lives Matter Racism
Charles Hurt – The Washington Times
Because he was half-black, half-white, Mr. Obama had more credibility than any president ever elected in American history to be the balm that would finally salve the festering wounds that still divided some Americans 150 years after the end of slavery….
It is now nearly eight years on. By no measure can anyone argue that things are better. No one is trying to say that promises were kept or that people have been made whole….
Again and again and again, this president, who was so uniquely positioned with the credibility to do more than any president in history to quell the discord and unify America, has done the exact opposite.
Instead of waiting for blind justice to work, he repeatedly jumps to prejudicial — and usually wrong — conclusions.
The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence
Ta-Nehisi Coates – The Atlantic
Last week, 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson murdered five police officers in Dallas. In black communities, the police departments have only enjoyed a kind of quasi-legitimacy. That is because wanton discrimination is definitional to the black experience, and very often it is law enforcement which implements that discrimination with violence. A community consistently subjected to violent discrimination under the law will lose respect for it, and act beyond it. When such actions stretch to mass murder it is horrific. But it is also predictable.
To understand the lack of police legitimacy in black communities, consider the contempt in which most white Americans hold O.J. Simpson. Consider their feelings toward the judge and jury in the case. And then consider that this is approximately how black people have felt every few months for generations….
What does it mean, for instance, that black children are ritually told that any stray movement in the face of the police might result in their own legal killing? When Eric Holder spoke about getting “The Talk” from his father, and then giving it to his own son, many of us nodded our heads. But many more of us were terrified. When the nation’s top cop must warn his children to be skeptical of his own troops, how legitimate can the police actually be?
If You Don’t Want Police to Shoot You, Don’t Resist Arrest
John Gibbs – The Federalist
It saddens me that what little is left of the black civil rights movement is spent defending thugs, hustlers, drug dealers, and troublemakers such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile. Can you believe we’ve gone from honorable causes like fighting for the right of black people to attend college to defending black criminals who foolishly mouth off against, run away from, and fight with the police; police who are putting their lives on the line to protect us from criminals?
You see, unlike those men recently shot, I do not fear for my life from the police….Why? Because I am not a criminal, and when the police stop me, I politely do what they say, and they leave me alone. I do not run away, fight back, or mouth off. It’s really pretty simple.
Why Is it so Hard to Improve American Policing?
Frederic Lemieux – The Conversation
Policing in America is not a standardized profession guided by an established set of procedures and policies. There are at least 12,000 local police agencies in the United States, making it one of the most decentralized police organizations in the world.
There are more than 600 state and local police academies across the country delivering training programs that vary tremendously in content, quality and intensity. This, inevitably, has an impact on the skills of their graduates….
Another noticeable trend that is front and center in the media today is the “militarization” of police.
This blurring of the distinction between the police and military institutions, between law enforcement and war, began in the 1980s and has only intensified since. It was reinforced by public policy rhetoric calling for a “war on crime,” “war on drugs” and “war on terror.”