Today, President Obama used his commencement speech at the University of Michigan to say that he is “troubled” by all the anti-government rhetoric he is hearing these days. He further warned that such language can signal to extremists that “perhaps violence is … justifiable.”
For once, I actually agree with the President. For example:
- Anti-government rhetoric that states that a duly enacted law is misguided, irresponsible and a threat to civil liberties is troubling;
- Anti-government rhetoric that criticizes government officials and those who are charged with enforcing a duly enacted law is troubling;
- Anti-government rhetoric that suggests that the government is acting beyond its constitutional authority and that legal challenges should be brought to overturn a duly enacted law is troubling.
These are all very, very troubling statements. But most troubling of all is when these statements are made by you, Mr. President.
Yes, Mr. President, it was you who said that the duly enacted Arizona immigration law is misguided and irresponsible and poses a threat to civil liberties; and this is very troubling. It was you, Mr. President, who criticized government officials of the State of Arizona and suggested that police officers charged with enforcing the law will violate their constitutional oath and harass ordinary American citizens; and this is very troubling. And it was you, Mr. President, who suggested that the government of the State of Arizona exceeded its constitutional authority and ordered your Justice Department to examine whether the law violates the Constitution; and this is very troubling.
So shame on you, Mr. President. After all, we don’t want your anti-government rhetoric to signal to potentially violent extremists and other violent individuals that perhaps violence is justifiable, do we? Because that would be very troubling indeed!