A Problem Of Conflicting National Interests

I’ll be honest. I don’t think Obama has it out for police officers, or that he tries to push #BlackLivesMatter at every opportunity.

I think he’s a leader who’s dealing with two conflicting interests. Granted, they shouldn’t be conflicting, but the nature of American politics, especially on issues of race, has made it so. Whenever Obama mentions the concerns of the black community alongside those of the police, he’s accused of insulting the memories of dead officers. He’s even been accused of stirring up racial tension, and encouraging the target of police officers by BLM extremists.

These accusations tend to be based on a narrative, not facts. Loose connections between increased protests and Obama’s presidency are made, and the myth that the president heavily influences social concerns has also made its way around. Apparently, Obama has control over what and how the nation freaks out over.

But maybe the reality of the situation is a little less malicious. What if Obama is just trying to juggle too interests? He’s the president of the United States, which means the interests of the people and of the police are priority for him. No president enjoys watching an American get gunned down, especially by a cop. Nor do they enjoy watching an American gun down a cop.

There’s no doubt that racial tensions have escalated in America. It’s not as bad as many (on both sides of the aisle) would like you to believe, but the issue is prevalent. And both sides have been addressed by the president. In a world of increased polarization (and thick headedness), that task is no easy thing.

A good example of Obama’s juggling of these interests is best seen in his speech for the Dallas police funeral.

“Faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged.  We wonder if an African-American community that feels unfairly targeted by police, and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs, can ever understand each other’s experience.”

I won’t give you the whole lowdown on the speech, but it’s safe to say it was appropriate for the situation. Five officers dead, killed by a lone killer in an anti-police abuse protest, days after two black men were unjustly killed by police. You can’t mention one without the other, especially if you’re the president.

“Now, I’m not naïve.  I have spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency.  I’ve hugged too many families who have lost a loved one to senseless violence.” ~ Obama, at the Dallas police officer funeral

Not only did Obama talk about the lives of each officer killed, and how they’re a model for all Americans, but he also mentioned the lives of those black men killed. He mentioned police brutality, and how vilifying all police only serves to make the situation worse. He tackled both issues appropriately and in context.

As president, Obama represents all of America, not just the side you want him to when it suits you best. He shouldn’t be relegated to petty polarized boundaries of what he’s allowed to discuss. This nation has a problem with police-abuse, and both sides need to be addressed if we’re ever going to change.



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