When I first saw excerpts from President Obama’s speech today at the memorial service for the slain Dallas police officers who were brutally gunned down by an insane gunman last week, I thought “Eh, this is not so bad.” I didn’t watch it live and wanted to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. But as more came out it quickly became apparent just how politically charged his address was.

Look, I’m not someone who says you can always get rid of all political rhetoric, just to clarify the headline. It naturally encroaches into our lives and our speech, so I would have been a fool to think Obama wouldn’t allude to those concerns at all. Still, completely turning a memorial service into a political platform is shameful. It makes me think that Obama might not really be interested in healing our nation with this speech.

It seemed more like he wanted to make it all about him…again. And that’s the charitable view.

The other take says that this guy is cynically exploiting racial tensions in the country for political gain. He knows blacks aren’t as likely to show up for Hillary Clinton in the same way as they did for him and so he wants to fire them up using grievance politics, so this theory goes. I don’t want to think he’s that cynical, but it wouldn’t be the first time a pol has done something like that.

We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.

(My tweet about that quote)

That’s an actual line from the speech. Since when has it been easier to get a Glock than a computer, much less a book? You can freely procure books all throughout the country in libraries. It’s just a flat out lie.

Not only that, but to inject Alton Sterling and Philando Castile into a memorial about dead police officers? Like I said about, I understand talking about the issues our country faces going forward in a speech like this, but it just seemed to heavy on Obama’s rhetorical prancing without enough about why he was there in the first place: honoring police who died while in the service of the people who were protesting against them.

Protesters can get hurt. They can be frustrated. But even those who dislike the phrase “black lives matter,” surely, we should be able to hear the pain of Alton Sterling’s family.


We should — when we hear a friend describe him by saying that, whatever he cooked, he cooked enough for everybody, that should sound familiar to us, that maybe he wasn’t so different than us. So that we can, yes, insist that his life matters.

I’ve written about police reform recently and I still believe every word I put out last week. I’m not someone who says the law enforcement of this country are blameless. Quite the contrary, in fact. So, I feel like I have some credibilty to speak on these issues without being labeled some authoritarian right-wing shill, or whatever the #BlackLivesMatter idiots want to say. The bottom line is, Obama’s speech today fell short in some big ways and I think he ended up inflaming things further.

That’s a shame.


(Transcript of President Obama’s remarks)