December 7, 2015 10:28 pm -


President Obama took to the airwaves Sunday night for a rare prime-time Oval Office address that aimed to quiet the fear and anxiety that have arisen in the wake of the San Bernardino killings and the attacks in Paris, France. Obama called the shootings in San Bernardino an “act of terror,” outlined his strategy to take on ISIS at home and abroad, and called for Congress to act on gun control measures.

Lost in all the coverage of the poorly-received speech was a portion of the address that appeared to be aimed at critics who say the President refuses to acknowledge the role of “radical Islam” in the attacks that have everyone so terrorized. In a rare move, the President called on moderate Muslims to take responsibility for the ideology that has fomented these attacks, and to go beyond merely denouncing violence:

If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.


Of course it received very little notice from the lunatics who won’t be satisfied until Obama uses their exact catchphrase, but it puts him a lot closer to the Bill Maher/Sam Harris camp than say, Reza Aslan. While continuing to say that ISIS doesn’t represent Islam, President Obama is explicitly calling this threat a Muslim problem.

I’m not sure how Muslims are supposed to feel about that (I doubt Christians would appreciate being handed the Planned Parenthood shooting to solve), but the President’s remarks seem squarely aimed at those Americans who are very jittery about terrorism, but who aren’t quite the lunatics that Republicans are. He was proposing a bargain in which he trades an acknowledgement of their anxieties about Islam for their resistance of paranoia and discrimination.

The problem is that President Obama is selling a product that can’t compete. He’s offering proper nutrition, ample rest, and exercise next to a rack full of 5 Hour Energy and herbal boner pills. Ted Cruz is having a moment right now in Iowa, partially on the strength of his desire to “carpet bomb” Syria (a sentiment widely shared even by the “moderate” right), and even the Republicans’ weakest, nice-guy candidate thinks our biggest problem is that we’re trying too hard not to kill civilians.

But if you doubt the marketability of bloodlust in a panicked America, look no further than Donald Trump, who…READ MORE


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.