Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A View on the Speech

First of all, why was Obama giving a speech today in front of an international delegation at the UN?  Not any speech, but this speech. Why?  Because Muslims across the greater Middle East and South/Southeast Asia were brought to a rabid frenzy by Islamic clerics and other leaders to protest a movie snippet critical of Mohammed on 9/11.  Oh, and because we found out on 9/11 that some people still want to kill us indiscriminately despite UBL being fish food.

Since the president is known for having a strong foreign policy of blowing terrorists and surrounding bushes, trees and family members to heck; and since he has spoken many times since the events of 9/11 on how a man's free speech criticizing a religion was detestable while detesting violence over free speech, evidently he was at the UN two weeks later to explain things. 

With that in mind how did he do?  Did he support and explain free speech?  Yes.  Did he point out that violence is not appropriate in response to free speech, even if detestable?  Yep.   Did he make an insinuation that developing democracies are going to need to learn to respect the speech of those they detest?  Roger.  It could have been a great speech...given on 9/15 perhaps.

But it wasn't.  By waiting so late to make these points the president actually cheapened free speech and the notion that we were attacked because it wasn't one of the first things he thought to say.  His first instinct was to apologize for America in roundabout terms.   That has always been his first instinct.  But as president his job description is to defend the Constitution, not Mohammad.  Two weeks made him re-think a bit.

But perhaps some of the words were just words.  This seemed particularly powerful:
True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear; and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.
Yet in reality the same guy stood by while the filmmaker he consistently blamed for causing riots and death was basically perp-walked in public to a jail in California.  He blamed him again in front of the UN.  Anyone care to make a negative film about the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) now?

Meanwhile time has passed.  The public is moving on.  The spin cycle is powerful and there are other things to talk about around the water cooler.  The FUBAR in Benghazi story, which prompted a government spokesman to tell a journalist to F off, and which might have won someone a Pulitzer during the Bush era, is being replaced now by the NFL replacement story (admittedly terrible).  This despite CNN doing their best imitation of Fox News and despite the administration's storyline going from a protest mob out of control reacting to a vile movie clip on You Tube that America had nothing to do with, a terrorist attack spurred on by the heat of the moment, to today calling it an "attack on America".  But you betcha he weighed in on the ref story without delay.

Chances are the real reason he was speaking today at the UN was the same reason he spoke in Philadelphia after the Reverend Wright debacle.  Is cynicism a crime yet?

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