If you happen to live in the St. Louis area as I do, you no doubt are apprehensively awaiting the upcoming grand jury decision on whether Officer Darren Wilson will be charged with murdering Michael Brown. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that all the local media outlets are running stories constantly reminding us that the decision is due any day now and that if a decision is made not to indict Officer Wilson, it will likely spark large scale protests and potentially more violence as was seen 3 months ago. In preparation for this event, many elected officials are calling for peace regardless of what the decision is. Even Michael Brown’s parents are asking that no violence be used to protest in their son’s name. However, conspicuously absent from these calls for peace are words from the President of the United States.
As usual, please read my Obligatory Obama Disclaimer if you haven’t already.
I am willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is waiting to make public statements once he is given a heads up that the decision is forthcoming. However, with other politicians and public personas making statements now, I can’t help but wonder if his silence is deafening. It certainly can’t hurt to call for peace more than once. And let’s face it, coming from the first black president, I think his words would hold a lot more weight in this situation.
Anyone who knows me or has read my writing should realize that I’m definitely not one for government action (or overreaction) especially coming from the office of the president. However, I do believe that the office does hold a very special distinction that should be used as liberally as possible. Having the unofficial title of “leader of the free world”, the President of the United States should use every opportunity possible to show leadership in situations where freedom is in jeopardy. I believe this is precisely one such situation. Instead of being silent on the subject, Obama should be using his role as Chief Advocate for freedom to say in no uncertain terms that instigating violence and infringing people’s rights are not acceptable behaviors for free people. This goes for protestors or law enforcement. He should be repeating this message early and often on every media outlet and social media platform he can. And perhaps he should be in Ferguson making appearances and talking to those who lead the protest movements. Honestly, this is probably the most important domestic issue on his plate right now and yet he seems to be more interested with what is happening in China or hugging Koala Bears in Australia.
His silence in this situation is especially perplexing given his political ideology. For someone who constantly advocates that people should trust in big government and to let big government take care of them, it is unusual for him to not be telling people to trust in what the Missouri grand jury will decide. Or to trust the results of his own Department of Justice investigation for that matter. If he is to be consistent in his application of his ideology, shouldn’t he be attempting to instill faith in the government-run process of justice no matter what the outcome may be? Or perhaps, like many other politicians, he simply changes his convictions any time it is politically convenient for him.
Maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised as Obama has hardly been one to step up to the plate when it really matters. But regardless of how much I disagree with his political ideologies, I would certainly think much more of him as a human being if he would use his position of influence in this situation. He literally has the chance to save lives by his words. Or he can continue to do nothing and put people’s freedoms on the line. Whatever course of action he chooses in this situation will say a lot more about him than anything else he has done in his presidency. So yet again, I ask Mr. President, are you going to man up or step aside?