Monday, January 12, 2015

Where's Barack??

Yesterday, in a display of unity against radical Islamic extremism, more than 40 world leaders came together to march in the streets of Paris, France, with French President Francois Hollande. Among them were German Chancellor Angela Mekel, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Great Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, and even Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority. Noticeably absent was our own President, Barack Obama.

I'm not sure why Obama didn't go to France with the rest of the world leaders. There was nothing pressing on his public schedule, according to the White House web site. Speaking anonymously, one White House spokesman said it was at least partly because the security requirements of the U.S. President would have been a distraction to the proceedings. To me that sounds simply like a lame excuse.

President Hollande says Obama has been in close touch with him since the shooting incident in which Muslims killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine. But there is no official explanation as to why our President didn't feel the need to attend or to send at least his bumbling sidekick, Joe Biden.

Eric Holder flew to Paris for a meeting of worldwide law enforcement officials the morning of the rally but he didn't stay and participate in the rally. The United States was represented by our Ambassador to France. That's convenient.

End of the world? Nope. Would Obama's presence at the rally change anything? Nothing but public opinion. His absence was noted worldwide. Britain's Daily Mail reported that it was difficult to understand why Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas could set aside their differences and march together for peace and unity, as well as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, but President Obama nor Joe Biden could be there. I must say I agree.

Even liberal pundits are questioning Obama's absence. CNN's Jake Tapper expressed his personal disappointment that our country was so poorly represented in this international event. Tapper noted that Jordan's King Abdullah, who is a directed descendant of the prophet Mohammed, attended the rally.

"It is not a small thing for him to be walking in the same line as the Prime Minister of Israel, protesting the terrorist acts committed against A) four Jews in a kosher supermarket, and B) 12 people, most of whom were journalists for a publication that regularly mocked religions, including Islam," Tapper said.

"I don't mean this as a criticism of the Obama administration, but just as an American, I do wish that we were better represented in this beautiful procession of world leaders," Tapper went on. "But I'm a little disappointed personally. This is me speaking personally, not as a representative of CNN, but as an American, that there isn't more of a display of unity here because this is just one of the most incredible events I've ever attended."

It's one of the few times I actually agree with Jake Tapper - except about being critical of the Obama administration. They need to be criticized. Many Americans are embarrassed that Obama didn't go to the rally. Me included.

Fox News' Greta Van Susteren sent an open letter to the French people apologizing for our President not participating in the rally and personally showing his solidarity with the other world leaders. Like me she was embarrassed that our President would skip such a huge event without a good reason. (If there was a good reason it has not been publicized as of yet.) 

Some are already saying that the reason Obama didn't attend was because he supports the Muslims against the rest of the world. Only he knows the truth on that but the quote "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction," from his book "The Audacity of Hope," is a mis-quote. I'm in no way a fan of Obama but the truth is that he did not say those specific words. The quote has been twisted to make it something entirely different than what was said. And I won't criticize Obama with something that is not true. What he actually said was:

"Of course, not all my conversations in immigrant communities follow this easy pattern. In the wake of 9/11, my meetings with Arab and Pakistani Americans, for example, have a more urgent quality, for the stories of detentions and FBI questioning and hard stares from neighbors have shaken their sense of security and belonging. They have been reminded that the history of immigration in this country has a dark underbelly; they need specific assurances that their citizenship really means something, that America has learned the right lessons from the Japanese internments during World War II, and that I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."

That quote is accurate and far from "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." Truth is truth.

I said last week that the only way radical Islam can be stopped is for the nations of the world to join together in an all-out fight against them. The rally in France is a good place to begin. If the sentiment of the rally grows perhaps some real steps can be taken toward a real fight against Islamic extremism. Too bad our President didn't think it was important enough to gain his attendance.

No comments:

Post a Comment