During one of the GOP presidential debates, two or three people in an audience of more than 5,000 booed a question posed by a gay soldier, not the gay soldier himself. As one might expect, though, many journalists, as well as the president, decided to make a big deal of this. It was held up as an example of Republican bigotry. President Civility, Barack Obama, decided to put his own interpretation on things:
“We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s OK for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the president of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed,” Obama said at a Human Rights Campaign dinner.
To repeat: the soldier was not booed; his question was. But no matter; Obama had political points to score and a base to energize. Yet with the precedent Obama is setting in place, I do wonder: The Occupy Wall Street movement is rife with anti-Semitism. The statements we’re hearing from the protesters are vile, ugly and seemingly endless. And yet this is a movement Obama, Vice President Biden, Minority Leader Pelosi, and DNC chairwoman Wasserman Schultz have all warmly embraced. Revealingly, they have yet to denounce the unvarnished anti-Semitism they must be aware of by now.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s OK for a president and Democratic leaders – including one who could end up being re-elected as president of the United States – being silent when a movement they have praised and are provoking is spewing forth anti-Semitic bile on a daily basis. It would be nice, and exceedingly rare, for the president to show even a spark of moral leadership.
If he’s not careful, one might begin to (reasonably) conclude the president isn’t terribly bothered by anti-Semitism. Because if he were, he would actually speak out against it. Even once.