Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Obama and Courage

When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States the number of threats against the president requiring investigation by the Secret Service increased by a factor of four. Was the dramatic increase a political or racial statement by angry, out of the mainstream, citizens or was there some other explanation? Panderbear suspects a perfect storm of naked racism, radical and potentially violent conservative intransigence, and militia groups paranoid about President Obama taking their toys away. Gun sales soared. Republicans gladly pandered to these deluded, misguided fringe-dwellers for political gain.

The president has proffered no gun control legislation. The truly unhinged consider this lack of action on gun control a ploy that will lead to a second term move to disarm the nation's citizens. Whatever the reasons, the bald fact that President Obama is subject to four times as many threats of violence as his white Republican predecessor must give him and the nation pause and a care for his family if not for the president himself. And yet he endures these threats of violence without complaint.

President Obama Observing Progress of bin Laden Mission
When the 1980 raid to rescue embassy hostages held in Iran failed, whatever chance President Carter had for reelection died with the soldiers who perished in the Iranian desert. When President Obama ordered the operation against Osama bin Laden to proceed, he knew Carter's political fate awaited him if the mission failed. Take one look at the grim visages in the accompanying photo to learn just how serious this business was.

The president wagered everything. That is what a Commander-in-Chief is supposed to do. Some have. Some haven't. Obama summoned the courage to order an operation whose failure would have sealed his fate as a one-term president.

To those who disagree with the president's policies I say, "Fine." But to those, including more than a few pandering politicians, who accuse him of craven political motives and lack of courage I say, "You don't know what the hell you're talking about."

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