Al Qaeda, Chattanooga shooting, Donald Trump, Ferguson, illegal immigrants, Im-Politic, Immigration, ISIS, Kathryn Steinle, Michael Brown, Obama, police killings, radical Islam, radical Islam denialism, San Francisco, Sanctuary Cities, terrorism, Trayvon Martin
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has caught lots of flak for inflammatory and polarizing political statements, and some of it is deserved. At the very least, even a less-than-master rhetoretician could have made the same points in less offensive, more precise, and equally hard-hitting, attention-getting ways. Now I’m waiting for the same self-appointed guardians of inclusiveness and political civility who have slammed Trump to go after President Obama for two gratuitous contributions he’s recently made to America’s national divisions.
The first has been his failure to reach out personally, or to authorize any communications from his aides, to the family of Kathryn Steinle. She was the innocent woman gunned down in San Francisco July 1 by an illegal alien criminal who was released by law enforcement in that Sanctuary City even though he had been deported five times previously, and even though the Department of Homeland Security wanted him held in order to deport him again.
Mr. Obama has made such gestures to the families of other killings, especially if they have been the victims of controversial uses of violence by police or, in the case of Trayvon Martin, a vigilante. He spoke out and even sent representatives to the funeral of Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown, even though the officials at fault were not federal employees.
But when it came to the victim of an illegal immigrant whose presence on the streets stemmed from clear failures of federal deportation, border enforcement, and related policies, the Chief Executive said and did nothing. Nor have words of comfort have been offered by the administration for other families whose loved ones have been killed in similar circumstances. If Mr. Obama truly wanted to be a president of “all the people,” why would he distribute his sympathies so unevenly when it comes to policy-related wrongful deaths? And why have nearly all advocates both on the Left and the Right of fewer immigration curbs – and even more or less Open Borders – so far allowed their legitimate policy preferences to override their sense of simple decency?
The president’s second divisive decision was his failure to order federal flags to be flown at half mast to honor the Marines slain by the Arab-American gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Yesterday, five days later, and after considerable criticism, he deemed their deaths worthy enough. His delay understandably fed fears that he’s insufficiently alert to the threat now clearly posed to the American homeland by Islamic-related terrorism.
The flag-lowering delay also fed somewhat less understandable, but by no means completely unjustified, charges that the president’s emotions don’t kick in especially hard when these actions can, and often have, been cited, particularly on the Left, in narratives emphasizing the historic suffering of non-Western peoples at the hands of Europeans and Americans (including those who have settled in an ancient Middle East homeland). Indeed, Mr. Obama engaged in something like this rationalization when he practically handed ISIS and its ilk talking points by comparing their current atrocities with past horrors encouraged by Christianity.
To be fair, in remarks yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mr. Obama specifically mentioned the possibility of Al Qaeda and ISIS responsibility. But he remains unwilling to acknowledge that these attacks and countless others like them reveal a major problem with the mainstream of contemporary Islam, not just a few lunatic fringes. Especially interesting in this vein: The Washington Post has reported that the killer’s father has been accused in a court of law of the type of misogynistic behavior (in this case, wife-beating) unmistakably sanctioned by the Koran – and all too widespread throughout the Muslim world.
Similarly troubling about the president’s views – his description of the Marines’ killings as “tragic” and “senseless.” Obviously, they’re tragic for the victims. But the rest of us, including the Commander in Chief, should treat them as outrages. And far from being senseless, they just as obviously were directed at a highly particular type of target.
In this case, many of the conservatives who have upbraided Trump for various potshots have condemned President Obama’s coddling of the “Islamic” part of Islamic terrorism. But for the most part, the president’s morally dubious and – more important – tactically destructive attitudes have been either ignored on the Left or applauded.
So here’s hoping that calls for greater civility and inclusiveness in the public square continue and are heeded. But here’s also hoping that selective expressions of outrage that conceal political agendas are increasingly recognized as the hypocrisy they represent.