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Mass murder: The prose of a president past

This was the Barack Obama the world had come to know over his two terms as President of the United States. In a statement delivered on social media this man of unique principle made his thoughts known to the world and more importantly to the people of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

He is still the concerned eloquent President he ever was. Capable of consoling words that the current incumbent could only ever dream of delivering: comforting words that mattered in the aftermath of yet another horrible shooting.

Yes, the incumbent President, also spoke from a teleprompter, using words calculated to defect any blame from him, to not refer to the obvious cause of the massacres. Guns.

The comparison between the two presidents could not be more stark. With Obama we have a sense of understanding, of one individual giving consolation to another.

It is fair to say that Obama had his share of frequent horrific massacres however, he always confronted them firstly with empathy for the victims and their families and secondly with a clear statement of cause: thirdly with measures of prevention together with moral clarity during his eight years as President.

His haters, and there were many, who say he did nothing, never admitted that he only ever had a window of 5 months when he controlled both houses thus rendering much of his tenure a lost cause. Against him was a Conservative party determined to vote against every bill he put up. They even signed an agreement to do so.

Individuals like Trump who embrace a racist white supremacy ideology cannot understand a call for tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of American democracy.

Where a call for bi partisan action is paramount if the sanctity of life is to live on instead of devaluing it, as Trump is inclined to.

Although not pure of heart we in Australia fail to understand why some white Americans see a necessity to act so insanely, so violently in order to maintain such a misguided sense of superiority.

In the entirety of his eight years as President I cannot ever remember a loss of clarity where he expressed compassion and heartfelt sympathy followed by an identification of the problem and the solutions possible.

Conservatives, in reality, only ever offered more of the same. Another massacre without a defined date.

Trump’s obvious racism, his constant vilification of immigrants together with his constant call of white superiority by violence offers no solution. His personal moral code towards women is sick and disgusting.

Writing in The Atlantic, David Graham reminds us that Obama is still presidential, Trump is all a President shouldn’t be:

” … whilst Trump’s efforts at consoling and uniting are intermittent and clumsy, it feels as though the role of president is vacant, and Obama is sliding right back into it by habit—his and the nation’s.”

The President alluded to the mental illness of the shooters. Obama had legislated to prevent anyone with a history of mental illness from purchasing guns. Trump reinstated it. Why did he do so?

Read carefully Obama’s language as it condemns Trump’s racial and ethnic hatred and violence without naming him.

“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”

Indeed it is masterly prose from a former president walking a fine line between condemnation and occupying a place above it.

America is a huge and complicated country. Its success has been born of the annihilation of one race and the enslavement of another.

It goes without saying that they would be a greater nation with more men like Obama … and less like Trump.

And a wonderful time was had by all

My thought for the day

It is time that those with the capacity to change laws that might prevent the mass murder of people and refuse to do so were made to account. After all they are as guilty or as mad, whatever the case, as the perpetrator himself.

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16 comments

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  1. Doug Young

    It is entirely appropriate to criticize the Donald, however the yanks didn’t really have an option as Hilary would have been even worse. The situation in Australia was comparable. Whilst SCOMO is a grub of the first order, Shorten lacked a backbone and Albo has shown he is no better.

  2. New Englnd Cocky

    The USA (United States of Apartheid) where a massacre one day inspires a massacre the next. Perhaps the unequal distribution of wealth has changed the American Dream into the American Nightmare.

  3. Jack Cade

    Trump is conservative America’s punishment to the rest for electing a ‘man of colour’ – and what a mealy-mouthed phrase that is. But Obama was just an American president, like any other. The destruction of Libya shows that.

  4. John Lord

    Thanks Doug and Jack for your comments.

    1 Clinton easily won the popular vote.
    2 Shorten lost because he had the guts to give us hard but just choices.
    3 It’s far too early to judge Also.

    Jack. Might you concede that Obama had his arms tied behind his back.

  5. James O'Neill

    You need to look behind the fine rhetoric of Obama. During his 8 year as President he carried on the strong post WW2 tradition of US presidents of invading, bombing and generally destroying or attempting to destroy an impressive range of countries that did not fit the US dictate as sole rulers of the world.

  6. whatever

    Trump didn’t just appear on the political scene out of nowhere, the fake ‘populist’ TeaParty movement had already been voted-in as Kansas and Wisconsin state governments.

  7. Jack Cade

    John Lord
    An obvious comment about Obama and one I thought about. But he had both houses for 5
    months.
    We make a big mistake believing the Democrats are social democrats. In power, they have been indistinguishable from Republicans, especially in US foreign policy. My view is that the only US president who was the definitive ‘good and decent man’ -that we hope the world’s most powerful nations leader would be – was Jimmy Carter, and the Americans more or less see him as an embarrassment, probably because of his lack of lust for extending US empirical power.

  8. Henry Rodrigues

    The people who voted for Trump and still are prepared to do so again, are the real villains. I know some might claim that this is democracy, but in the light of all the damage Trump has inflicted on his nation and the world’s economies, his hobnobbing with dictators and murderers, his personal immorality, his unsavoury business dealings, his promotion of his equally distasteful family, and finally his openly corrupt methods of getting himself re-elected, democratic principles should never be allowed to give him fig leaf cover for his despicable behaviour. And that includes the overt and covert approval by our very religious happy clappy dickhead PM.

  9. Phil Pryor

    Doug Young is vigorously opinionated and grandly ignorant. The world is full of opinions; If I had a dollar for all of mine, good or bad, I’d be rich. So being wrong, in the dark, under false impressions, ill informed is quite normal, common, There you are Douggy, but it’s just an opinion…In a nation of c. 350 millions, the USA should be able to find many reasonable candidates for office. They rarely do.

  10. David Bruce

    I know too much about the unpublished Obama to accept your hypothesis John.

    Why was his name changed from Barry Soetoro to Barack Obama? At the school he attended in Hawaii, his name was Barry!

    I was thinking it may have been changed to honour Ehud Barak for his contribution to the USA after 2000.

    As far as the world going mad, I fully agree!

    History is full of mad leaders from the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, the Roman Emperor Caligula to many English and French kings as well as modern examples.

    But the question is if we have ever had such a mad world as today. Globally, ethical and moral values have vanished and decadence is rampant. And financially there is zero discipline as leaders are attempting to set aside the laws of nature.

    We are not looking at one or two mad leaders today, but instead at a mad world where virtually every single leader or central bank head is mad. If they weren’t, why would they attempt or print the world to prosperity with fake and worthless money or raise unlimited credit. And why would they pay people to borrow money through negative interest rates.

    The next logical step is of course that we all stop working, let robots produce what we need, with the government giving us all ample free money to buy what we want. And if we need more money, we can just borrow and will receive interest on top of the loan. Naturally the loan will never need to be repaid since we can print unlimited amounts to infinity.

    The above description might sound like an implausible saga but it is not far from where we are today. So we haven’t got robots that do all human work yet, but that is just a matter of time. We must also remember that all productive capacity will be owned either by the government or more likely by a ruling oligarchy. Thus normal people will be virtual slaves with very few needed since robots will do most of the work. Does this make sense to the climate warriors? (with thanks to Egon von Greyerz for his insight)

    … and Putin looks more like a saint every day!

  11. Karen Kyle

    I remember the huge excitment when Obama was elected. I was a member of an international blog at the time and the excitment around the world was huge.

    “Well done America” came from all over the world. I thought America had grown up, and I envied that maturity. Obama was the best American President for some years.How tragic that so many Americans had failed to grow up and Trump is part of the reaction to the first black President.

    Obama, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King junior great political figures and humanitarians. Harry Belafonte and Muhaamad Ali grear sporting and cultural figures and humanitarians……..and many more too numerous to list. We are witness to the rising of black humanitarians and intellectuals. How thrilling.. And how satisfying..

  12. Karen Kyle

    David Bruce…Google Radio Free Europe. You will find an article which will show you what a saint Putin is.

  13. guest

    David Bruce

    Barack Obama father’s name was Barack Hussein Obama Sr. Barack Jr was also known as Barry – from Barack.

    Soetoro, an Indonesian, was the name of Barack Jr’s stepfather.

    What are you suggesting, David?

  14. Terence Mills

    Obama came to office in 2008 just as the global financial crisis hit the US and subsequently world
    economies ; he steered America through the GFC and set the US economy on track to recover and grow, the benefits of which have largely flowed through to the Trump administration.

    Trump gained office my promising massive tax cuts with little consideration for the long term impacts but he knew that if you appeal to base instincts you will usually beat the opposition. In the same way Morrison went to an election with no policies, no track record and six years of infighting and division in a coalition of opportunists with no talent. But he figured that massive tax cuts into the future together with the odd scare campaign would appeal to the lowest common denominator in the electorate : it worked !

  15. Aortic

    John Lord, your thought for today is as full of clarity and veracity as any I have ever seen. I was going to say it should be emblazoned on what passes for brains in the nut jobs that hold sway, particularly in the US, but would it make any difference? I have serious doubts. I cannot honestly imagine sending kids off to school and living in fear of their lives being cut short, or the simple act of going shopping and not returning home. They can talk about their wonderful God and throughts and prayers is the usual mantra, but the simple truth is they are all in the service of large corporations whose exorbitant profits must be maintained at all cost to support the morons currently occupying the White House. Still with advisers such as Kellyanne Conway, Ivanka Trump and Stephanie Ingram and those stalwarts from Faux News such as Sean Hannity what could possibly go wrong?

  16. Phil

    Republican, Democrat, just different cheeks of the same arse. The US. media is currently melting down over the progressives infiltrating the Democratic party. Obama was slick to be sure, a great orator but just another as the great ‘ Harry Belafonte ‘ put it , a ‘ House slave ‘ Obama and the imbecilic Trump all serve the same master.

    And where is Obama now? Retired to a life of luxury making millions out of an office which has now been proven beyond any doubt to be the office of the CEO America Pty Ltd. The real President of the US. is in the offices of Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bank of America etc. etc. etc.

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