When the Words Make a Difference

Ed Forry

by Ed Forry
For those lingering lost souls who struggle accepting that the American people voted to elect Barack Obama as their president, there were a few public utterances made within a few short days this spring that speak volumes about political discourse in our great country.While his political opponents wasted much time and energy to distract our president from doing his job, Obama revealed the true depths of his extraordinary leadership skills and political acumen.

At this writing, it’s hard to believe that just days ago, the chief media story was a firestorm over whether the president was born in the United States. Then, on May Day 2011, the world learned that even as the White House stooped to respond to the baseless canards thrown around by one D. Trump, our president was in the midst of authorizing an inspired military action that would take out the country’s Public Enemy No. 1.
Consider these public comments, uttered just four days apart:
“Today, I’m very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish… I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role in hopefully getting rid of this (the birther) issue.”
— Donald Trump, April 27
“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
– President Obama, May 1
The “birther issue” was a sad and sorry spectacle that played out on national TV one morning in late April. There was blowhard businessman Trump on a tarmac in New Hampshire, unburdening himself of a whole stream of self-important gibberish while national cable channels transmitted his vacuities around the globe.
The scene took place while the TVs waited to bring up the president at the White House. He had just posted online his “long form” birth certificate, proving his birth in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, and putting the lie once and for all to the so-called “birthers,” who have long fostered fiction about his legitimacy as president.
“Over the last two and a half years, I have watched with bemusement,” the president said that day. “I’ve been puzzled by the degree to which this thing just kept on going.” Mr. Obama said there would be a “segment of people for which, no matter what we put out, this issue will not be put to rest.” But he said that he was “speaking to the vast majority of the American people as well as to the press. We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.”
Trump’s P.T. Barnum act served as a more-than-willing counterpoint to Obama’s sensible, statesman-like approach. After all, for Trump, the bottom line was that he soak up as much free media as possible. All the better to boost TV ratings, no matter what the cost to the nation’s prestige.
“I know how to make money — I’ve always known how to make money,” Trump said. “This country is broke.”
This country is indeed broken in more ways than one when its commander-in-chief has to interrupt his day to answer the basest of charges from the likes of Trump.
But Mr. Obama refused to be distracted by such inconsequential nonsense. “Thanks be to God,” as my mother would say, that we have such a good, honorable, and decent man in the White House.
“And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and I authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
– Barack Obama, May 1