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Obama's 12/6/15 National Address: A Reaction

President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office for just the third time in seven years on Sunday night, offering what can be summarized as a series of carefully considered platitudes, overly simplistic descriptions of what is likely an extremely complicated multinational strategy of military action against the Islamic State, and a dash of Orwellian doublespeak sprinkled atop pleas for racial tolerance and “new” gun control legislation. Most of the writers and thinkers I hold in great esteem have done a terrific job of illustrating the feelings of uselessness and steady-as-she-goes inaction the address no doubt promulgated in the hearts and minds of Americans, but I thought it prudent to echo some of those thoughts in my own words here, as well as offer observations I think some folks might be overlooking. 

Before I do that, let’s give Barack some credit. Afterall, he did indeed correctly identify the recent violence in San Bernardino, CA as “an act of terrorism” and that its perpetrators “had gone down the dark path of radicalization.” I’ll even let him slide for refusing to use this language until now even after his own FBI pointed it out in a press conference last week. He finally admitted that the Ft. Hood, TX shooting of 2009 was also an act of terrorism. This is all welcome talk from the president. This was good.

And the bad?

When it comes to speeches delivered by this president, there is often a good number of his talking points that are easy to find slightly disturbing or even utterly reprehensible. Last night, Barack Obama had at least one utterly reprehensible turn of phrase when beginning to outline his plan to address security concerns domestically: (emphasis mine)

To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security.

Now a lot of people listening to Obama’s remarks (or those who were watching NFL highlights on NBC and watched or read the speech later) probably nodded their heads at this point. I would direct those folks to venture capitalist and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, who likely had the most sensible and succinct answer to this preposterously obvious question:

Innocent until proven guilty, due process, and the Second Amendment?

— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) December 7, 2015

Exactly, Mr. Obama. Otherwise known as quintessential American values.
That the president would submit such a ridiculous pop quiz to the American people is instructive of two things. First, Barack Obama is very serious about making his last year in office revolve around the issue of gun control. He will continue to associate as many news items with our “gun epidemic” as he can get away with (if he doesn’t blame climate change first) and Americans will continue to flock to Academy and Cabela’s to buy as many guns and as much ammo as they can for fear of the enacting of new “common sense gun laws.” Fortunately, with an opposition Congress, it is severely unlikely any new gun legislation will be passed during the remainder of Obama’s term. Which leads us nicely to the second, and far more reprehensible tenet of the current administration we learned of yesterday evening.

Over the years there have been many examples of Barack Obama’s disdain for following constitutionally prescribed American legislative and regulative processes. However, it is doubtful he has ever demonstrated to the country his disregard for the due process of law as clearly as he did this Sunday. Make no mistake. This president believes that if you are suspected of being a terrorist and placed on a no-fly list pursuant to that suspicion (your inclusion upon which is not subject to any process of appeal), that you should be denied your Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. This is the antithesis of due process. An executive may not simply suspend the rights of a citizen because he or she is suspected of anything, nor would it be acceptable to pass congressional legislation with similar intent. Couple this with the notion that since at least 2007 the process by which individuals are added to the no-fly list produces less than ideal results, and the question of “what could possibly be the argument…?” is one that should make every American shudder with the same contempt that our president seems to hold for our classically liberal beginnings.

Whether or not our next Commander-in-Chief will behave any differently is another matter entirely. 

Andrew M. S. BoydComment