Letter to the Editor: The Audacity of Hope

Daniel Ruppert-Majer, History major with a European concentration
Contact: drupp001@ucr.edu

The article “Snowflakes melt fast and so will President Obama’s legacy” postulates that “Obama’s presidency was one of the worst this country has seen in a long time.” This is quite a bold claim that the author attempts to back up with a variety of arguments, some less successful than others. The three parts of the article that I took particular issue with were the author’s stances on domestic policy, race relations and the title itself.

I am not entirely sure what the author meant by “a domestic policy that has done more than just strip jobs from hard-working Americans,” but it sounds like a sad ode to the era of the coal miner. The current unemployment rate is at 4.9 percent which is roughly half of the unemployment rate of 9.7 percent at the beginning of 2010. While it is true that blue-collared workers in the Midwest have been hurting in recent years, this paean to the glory days of industrial America is both misguided and dangerous. Obama dramatically reduced the unemployment rate and created sustainable jobs in areas such as renewable energy. Manufacturing is no longer the bedrock of first world economies and it should not be treated as such.

One of the primary issues with “Snowflakes” is that it is not accompanied by verifiable statistics or sources. This becomes apparent in its depiction of race relations in the United States. I am not sure if the author actually watched Obama’s speech, because the argument professed in “Snowflakes” bore no resemblance to what the president said. The author claims that “Obama has shown great disrespect for our police officers, emboldening anti-police, race radicals to take action.” This unsubstantiated accusation is patently false and the author of “Snowflakes” presented no actual proof to back up its claims. As Obama said in the Dallas memorial speech, “We know that the overwhelming majority of police officers do an incredibly hard and dangerous job fairly and professionally. They are deserving of our respect and not our scorn. And when anyone, no matter how good their intentions may be, paints all police as biased or bigoted, we undermine those officers we depend on for our safety. And as for those who use rhetoric suggesting harm to police, even if they don’t act on it themselves — well, they not only make the jobs of police officers even more dangerous, but they do a disservice to the very cause of justice they claim to promote.” Evidently the author did not bother to listen to Obama’s Dallas memorial speech. If he had he would have realized that it was a speech of unity and sorrow, not “an opportunity to push gun control” as the author asserted.

It is particularly misguided to blame the first African-American president for deepening racial division, especially when the author does not offer any concrete evidence to support his assumption that it is Obama’s fault. It is particularly ironic due to the fact that incidents of racial related violence have doubled since the election of Donald J. Trump according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The conservative view of Obama stoking racial tensions is nothing more than a witch hunt. Is the racial profiling of African-American men the fault of our first black president, or is it a sign of systemic racism in some parts of the country? To ignore the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Philando Castile and countless more unarmed black men and women is akin to seeing evidence and sticking one’s head in the ground like a scared ostrich.

“Snowflakes” is rife with errors and overgeneralizations intended to prop up an indefensible view. The title is intended to be triumphant but achieves the opposite effect, it shows a lack of understanding of current events. Obama has left office with an approval rating of 59 percent, one of the highest in modern history. He has passed or been instrumental in the passage of numerous laws that expanded the rights for millions of Americans. It was under Obama’s presidency that gay marriage was legalized in the United States. Women were given increased opportunities through clauses of the Recovery Act and were physically protected by the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Undocumented immigrants were given the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and achieve their full potential underneath the Dream Act. Obama’s legacy will not melt like a snowflake, instead it has seeded hope throughout the world. This is clear by the millions of people that have united across the world in marches to protest the new regime’s infringement upon Obama’s legacy; it is through these people that the audacity of hope shall shine on.  

 

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