Mychal Massie is the former chairman of the National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives-Project 21 – a conservative black think tank located in Washington, D.C. He was recognized as the 2008 Conservative Man of the Year by the Conservative Party of Suffolk County, N.Y. He is a nationally recognized political activist, pundit and columnist. He has appeared on Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, NBC, Comcast Cable and talk-radio programmingMore ↓Less ↑
Obama not participating in the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery is not much ado about nothing. Add to your list of “don’t dos” three things: you don’t confuse ignorance for intelligence, you don’t build a mosque next to Ground Zero, and – I don’t care who it is or who it was – the president doesn’t opt out of the Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery without a darn good reason. And being in Chicago isn’t one of them.
Vice presidents don’t send military personnel to risk life and limb in war and neither do deputy defense secretaries. The POTUS does, and that makes it his responsibility to attend the national services of those honored legions who have sacrificed their lives at his command.
I find it particularly offensive that, little more than one week ago, Obama spoke to the graduating class of West Point – where 1,000 young men and women graduates were fully aware that, as commander in chief, he in all probability would be ordering some – if not many, and potentially all – of them to risk their all in defense of America. Yet, he cannot make recognizing our memorialized veterans a priority on the same level with his playing golf.
Arlington isn’t just another cemetery – it is the resting place of “The Unknowns.” It is the site of “Freedman’s Village,” the gravesite of President John F. Kennedy and the eternal flame. It is where the “Old Guard” serves. Of the 300,000 who rest at Arlington, over three-quarters were military personnel.
Obama, more so than any other commander in chief (and I use said assignation grudgingly), seems to be the most dismissive of those traditions America holds dear.
In September 2007, during the playing of our nation’s National Anthem, a nation he would soon lead, as all others in attendance at the Indianola, Iowa, event placed their right hands over their hearts at its playing, he stood with his hands folded in front of him.
In April 2009, to avoid offending the British and Germans, he skipped visiting the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach where 9,387 American personnel are buried. In the mind of this essayist, there is no reason short of national emergency worth ignoring our honored lost, and concern over British and German feelings aren’t it. As Debbie Schlussel put it: “There is never an inappropriate time for an American president to visit the graves of those who gave their lives so we could be free” (“Nauseating: Obama Avoided Normandy Cemetery to Avoid Offending Brits, Germans,” April 6, 2009).
Obama has time to play golf and basketball, but not honor those he commands? Even more egregious, he stands by, giving tacit approval with his silence as foreign potentates denigrate America and the will of her people.
Mexico’s President Calderon went so far as to parrot Obama’s own words, saying, “I agree with the president (Barack Obama) who says, the new [Arizona] law carries a great amount of risk with the core values that we all care about are breached.” As one blogger observed, “Well, we’ve finally found something our president and Democrats in Congress will stand up for – a foreign leader … slamming and demagoguing [America]. What a despicable, disgraceful lot, all of them” (“Congressional Democrats Stand and Applaud Calderon Over AZ Law Criticism”; SisterToldjah.com; May 20, 2010).
I find it interesting that the “president,” as he is quick to reference himself, had plenty to say about a police department, and officers of same, for doing their job in the Henry Louis Gates situation – even going so far as to play the race card. He has had no shortage of response pursuant to Arizona’s immigration law – but what has he had to say about Muslims putting a mosque 600 feet from Ground Zero?
I submit, anyone who thinks for an instant the proposed mosque will be simply a “kumbayah, yippee, ain’t it nice we all get along center” is living in the same fantasyland where Jack bought his magic beans.
Selfish, narcissistic people have time to do what is important to them. Honoring those who rest proudly in our national cemetery isn’t important to Obama. He elects instead to slough it off to his “in-house embarrassment,” Joe Biden. Maybe Biden will grace us with another of his foul-mouth comments as he lays the memorial wreath.
The POTUS is an assignation of leadership and authority. It is the authority under which men and women stand ready to die. It would seem the least our so-called leader could do is pretend to take their willingness to sacrifice for America seriously.