Monday, July 11, 2016

A Nation United

From time to time over the past few days people here in France have asked me what is going on in America. No one, it is fair to say, thinks that very much good is happening in the USA. And they all understand that when bad things happen in America, the bad tends to cast a shadow over other parts of the world.

While America seems to be disintegrating, France seems to be coming together. It's a tale of two presidents. Barack Obama is using the massacre of police officers in Dallas to divide the country. French president Francois Hollande united the country against Islamist terrorism after the shootings at the Bataclan concert hall.

Beyond the fact that it is impossible not to see that the racial healing promised by the Obama administration has not come to pass, in terms of racial divisiveness, Obama has been a calamity. He continues to refuse to name America's enemies and continues to use these tragedies to push his gun control meme... thus turning Americans against other Americans.

Yesterday, USA Today headlined the fact that Obama wanted to focus on unity after the shootings. And then, as we read down the story we discover that Obama refused to notice that the gunman was acting in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, some of whose members have been calling for the murder of policemen, but blamed it all on the shooter's "troubled mind." Ah yes, let's not call the enemy by its name. Let's avoid, again, uniting the nation against a common enemy. Better to divide the nation, in Obama style, setting black against white. Because it's all the fault of the NRA.

In France, however, the nation was united this weekend over a soccer match. Not just any soccer match, mind you, but the European championship, in which France hosted Portugal. Many French were slightly surprised to find themselves in the finals and were despondent over the eventual loss to what was considered a weaker Portuguese team.

Yet, what was striking to this foreigner, was that this mere match allowed the people of France to unite, to feel as one, to show the colors, proudly and unashamedly. Coming from the United States where some communities have told veterans not to fly the flag, and where others consider patriotism an offense against Mexicans, where American history is taught as a crime against humanity, where no one is allowed to feel proud of the accomplishments of great Americans, the showing of the colors was an impressive sight, indeed.

I was in Aix-en-Provence at the time. People were walking through the public squares carrying French flags, wearing clothes that were red, white and blue, even wearing face paint in the national colors. Everyone was together. Everyone was united. It was France against the world, if you like, and the French were happy to take on the fight.

When people asked me what I thought about this sense of national unity and even purpose, I told them that at least they had a president who was an unabashed patriot, who had worked to unite the nation after the terrorist attack by naming the common enemy and who had made it clear that bad behavior was no longer going to be tolerated. The French policemen were given free reign to crack down on Islamists. You did not hear a word about Islamophobia.

The result, for the most part people in France, as well as I could ascertain, are upbeat. They are unfailingly polite, with a few instances of traditional Gallic insolence. People go about their business without the sense that their neighbors are their enemies. Good manners make a difference. In Obama's America, they have been all but forgotten. In Hollande's France they are on public display.

None of it means that the political situation in France is clear or decided. Hollande is doing a good job, but he is heartily disliked by the vast majority of the people. He has attacked the special interests, especially those who, like the labor unions, tend always to vote for socialists. The radical left despises Hollande. Which means that he has shown that much more political courage. It might not translate into votes but it does give you the sense that the nation is trying to address its major problems: taxes and bureaucratic regulation.

It is worth noting that Hollande came to power promising to tax the rich, the better to pay for the excessively generous French welfare state. Within two years he had lost a series of local elections and decided that he needed to change course. He removed his prime minister and installed a new one whose orientation was more free market, and less socialistic. In place of a Piketty-like tax scheme, the new government is trying, with great difficulty, to enact free market reforms.

A united nation is not necessarily a nation where everyone agrees. But it respects political leaders who love their country and are willing to do what they consider to be the best for their country... regardless of the political cost. But, it is a nation where everyone feels that he belongs and that he is willing to fight an enemy that the president is willing to name.


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: Barack Obama is using the massacre of police officers in Dallas to divide the country.

That's a surprisingly harsh assessment. And I assume you're saying his INTENTION is to divide the country, rather than than being a consequence of his circumstances.

What we do know is this mutual animosity between blacks and police isn't going to be eliminated in the last 6 months of Obama's presidency.
As for Obama's own role, if his voice is “true,” he told aides, he can help the country work toward unity.

“That’s not going to happen right away, and that’s OK,” as Obama put in a conversation with reporters while traveling in Europe this weekend.

“We plant seeds, and somebody else maybe sits under the shade of the tree that we planted,” he said. “And I'd like to think that, as best as I could, I have been true in speaking about these issues.”

The only clear way to guess if President Obama is standing near the middle is when everyone is complaining he's improperly defending the facts from the other side.

Ares Olympus said...

Along with nation's divide between black victims for looking like robbers and are young women who look like someone who just wants to have fun.
In an interview with, Morelan said that about two years ago during her sophomore year of college, someone she knew sexually assaulted her. For two months, Morelan didn’t tell anyone about her rape.

“I was so deeply ashamed,” she said. “I was feeling the same that many sexual assault survivors feel ― like part of your identity has been taken away.”

According to a study released in January by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as many as one in four women are sexually assaulted in college. Among the nine schools that participated in the study, only 12.5 percent of rape incidents were reported to an official.
Morelan, who said the Brock Turner case was “hard to follow” after her experience, hopes the sentence Turner received will keep the conversation going about the way the American justice system often fails sexual assault survivors.

“As a very happy, ambitious 21-year-old, the first thing I don’t want to tell people about me is that I was sexually assaulted,” she told “But if you can take that and say, ‘Yes, this happened, and it’s inexcusable. Yes, the justice system needs to protect our victims. Yes, this doesn’t have to define me and I am stronger than that,’ that’s really powerful.”

Young black men would like the justice system to stop harrassing and killing them.

Young women would the justice system to stop men from harrassing and raping them.

Young women believe if 100% of rapes and sexual assault were prosecuted that they would have to stop worrying about their safety, and wouldn't have to avoid dangerous situations like getting intoxicated with strangers.

On the good side for blacks, we can believe cops are good people at heart, so if young black men act respectfully around them, the harrassing detainments and browbeaten searches can be done as unobtrusively as possible.

But on the other side we can't tell women they have to have eternal vigilance for their own safety, because that would be "blaming the victim."

So instead the law ought to defer to always believe women's side of any encounter, without further traumatizing her into he-said-she-said interrogation, and properly punish the bad men.

Men are victimizers and need to be controlled and punished. Women are victims who need to be protected. Therefore justice is about controlling dangerous men and protecting innocent women.

Can we ever unite this view of justice with "innocent until proven guilty"?

Dennis said...

History will judge Obama far more harshly than many care to today. Enough said because Obama cannot help himself from pontificating and race hustling. Obama and the democrats cannot allow Blacks to flee the Leftist Plantation. Thats is why we will see the constant drumbeat to inflame racial tensions before the election.
When one lessens the protections of the Constitution then one lessens the protections afford those who would protest. The sad part here is that Obama could have been the person who brought people together, but I suspect his ideology will not let him.
Interesting that the root word for slave is SLAV. This because almost anyone with a penchant for power, arabs, blacks, et al, made slaves of these people. You will find that almost none of the Blacks who were brought to this country were from coastal areas of Africa. That is because coastal Black were selling other blacks into slavery with the aid of Arabs. Thomas Sowell if anyone cares to look it up. I can find few people no matter the color who did not make slaves, including Native Americans, of others and still do. None of us have clean hands when it comes to slavery.
I could provide grievances for almost any people if that was of any real value, but there comes a time when one needs to put the past in the past if one actually wants to solve problems and learn to live together.

Dennis said...

For your edification:

The difference between Bush and Obama could not be more apparent.

Ares Olympus said...

Here's a new opinion by Frank Bruni against the idea that Obama has harmed race relations:
..But I cry foul at the complaint that he has significantly aggravated racial animosity and widened the racial divide in this country. It’s a simplistic read of what’s happening, and it lays too much blame on the doorstep of a man who has sought — imperfectly on some occasions, expertly on others — to speak for all Americans.

That complaint trailed him to Dallas, where he appeared on Tuesday at a memorial for the five police officers killed by a sniper last week. He was there not just to eulogize them — which he did, magnificently — but to try to steady a nation reeling from their deaths and the ones just beforehand of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

He painted a profoundly admiring portrait of cops, asking their detractors to consider how it feels to be “unfairly maligned” by hyperbolic cries of pervasive police misconduct. Then he painted a profoundly sympathetic portrait of protesters, explaining why so many African-Americans feel “unfairly targeted.”

“Can we find the character, as Americans, to open our hearts to each other?” he said. He may not have phrased the question that way before, but to my ears, it’s what he’s been asking all along.

His sternest critics have decided to hear something different, homing in on his references to racial disparities in criminal justice to charge that he has brought the country to a boil.

In the last few days alone, he has been accused of abetting a “fundamental misreading of American society as irremediably racist,” of consistently choosing “to see things through the eyes of an aggrieved black activist”’ and of being possibly “the worst president in U.S. history” specifically because he “set back American race relations by 50 years.”

It’s true that Obama has sometimes spoken of discrimination before all the facts of a given killing were known. But those remarks touched on wider realities and were usually important acknowledgments of the fury that many Americans were feeling.
But it may well reflect alarm about how we navigate an overdue conversation rather than a belief that the conversation lacks merit. It’s surely the outgrowth of technological advances. Ask yourself: Are these protests the consequence of Obama’s words or of smartphone images and their documentation of events never glimpsed so intimately and immediately before? There’s no contest.
If he were an “aggrieved black activist,” he wouldn’t have pulled off what he did in Dallas on Tuesday, a nuanced balancing act in an era without much nuance or balance.

Just before his speech, Michelle Obama bent toward and reached out to the person seated to her right. That tender image — of her hand on George W. Bush’s — is one I’ll hold on to, and it’s a fitting retort to the nonsense that Obama is sowing hate.