Dear Mr. President:
You and I agree on practically nothing in the area of public policy, so I don’t expect my words to have any weight with you. Despite our policy disagreements, I have always tried to show you the proper respect as our president. As a veteran and the child of a veteran, I was raised “old school” – I respect the commander-in-chief, even if his politics are not my own.
I also respect you as a husband and a father. Your words and deeds leave me no doubt that you are a loving and devoted husband, and a doting father, and in that regard you are a much needed role model for the young men in our country, especially young black men. Most of them have never seen a positive male figure in their lives, so I do not diminish the example you set for them.
It is because I am an “old school” officer and gentleman, and because I admire your family ties, that I was extremely disappointed that you missed an opportunity during your press conference today to show leadership that transcends politics and the divisiveness of our day. You had an opportunity today to allow your better angels to take hold, and you let it pass.
You recently called a supporter and ideological ally to offer your support after conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh used intemperate language to describe her after her public statements defending your contraception mandate. You said you thought about your daughters and how you hoped they, too, would someday become actively engaged in issues they care about, and you didn’t “want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”
Twice in today’s press conference, you were given an opportunity to show your fair-mindedness and burnish your credentials as the president of all Americans, not just those with whom you agree. You once indignantly declared, “I am not an ideologue,” and you were given a perfect opportunity to prove it. You were given a chance to show that your concern for women is more than about just politics, but that you defend the dignity and worth of all women.
And you failed miserably.