Monday, January 12, 2015
Where was Obama?
This past Sunday, a unity march was held in Paris to honor those recently lost in the deadly terrorist attacks. Over 40 world leaders came together in solidarity with over 1 million people on the streets. However, the United States did not send any senior administrative members to the event. On one hand, the event was planned in only 36 hours, and thus planning a trip for the president to visit on such short notice would have been difficult. On the other hand, both President Obama and Vice President Biden had relatively free schedules that weekend, and Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris already for security meetings, yet none attended the march.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has publicly announced the administration's regret and mistake in not sending anyone of higher standing to the event. However, many are still upset with the decision, and potential 2016 GOP contenders have been using it as a strong point of blame towards the president and his administration.
Although it was unfortunate that the United States didn't send a higher-ranking representative to the march, I don't think its a terrible deed. It is evident that there is no ill-intent in the decision, and the administration has apologized publicly and honestly for its mistake. It is important to point out errors and blunders that the government makes, but I think this is blown out of proportion (it is/was on the homepage of CNN.) What happened in Paris is horrendous, and President Obama and other officials have offered support and given their condolences. Yes, they messed up, but I think to not accept the apology and instead point blame at Obama (like the possible GOP contenders are doing) is silly and unnecessary. Ultimately, this is about the French people and the horrors they have endured these past weeks. Our focus and concern should be on them, not the U.S. leaders.
A few questions to ponder:
1. Assuming that you agree the administration made a mistake, (feel free to argue that point as well) do you think the administration's apology was enough?
2. What do you think the administration should have done instead?
3. Do you think the media / certain officials are being over-dramatic about the issue, or are they rightly outraged?