Dear POTUS: If we can't believe you on civility…

Dear Mr. President;

I understand you have a huge speech about job-creation coming up this week; the speech is so big, in fact, that it requires a venue that is somewhat out-of-the-ordinary for a simple policy speech. Some have suggested it is a do-or-die speech; that you’ll really have to convince the country that you have a plan, and not just a plan, but a bold one. And not just a bold one, but one that is actually feasible.

Well, I hope for the best, but I have one question. When you get up there before the joint-session of Congress, with your “You-are-the-only-folks-keeping-the-barbarians-from-the-gates” Vice President seated behind you, and you tell us you have a plan, and that it is a plan for all Americans, knowing that the whole nation (and every man and woman in that chamber) is aware that Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa referred to “your army” and called for the opposition “sons of bitches” to be “taken out” while you said nothing, gave no correction, made no rebuke — not even by way of a later statement, how will you make them believe you?

Mr. President, we all remember your eloquence in Arizona last January, when you declared that irresponsible rhetoric had no place in public discourse. You said,

“At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

So, did you mean that? Because it seems like if you meant that, you would have been mortified to follow Hoffa’s incendiary rhetoric, and you would have found a way — with smart diplomacy — to have corrected him; you’d have been horrified to know your Vice-President was calling his fellow countrymen “barbarians” and you’d have suggested that maybe “Joe was just a little excited, but I’ve talked to him.”

Instead. Silence.

My father always told me that “silence implies consent.”

But…you’re the president of the United States. You can’t consent to this sort of flame-throwing against your own citizenry, can you?

Then again, you were the guy who said your supporters ought to get “up in the faces” of opposition. I think you even uttered one of those they bring a knife, we bring a gun tough-guy lines during your campaign.

So maybe your silence really is consent. Maybe you completely support the “war” against half the country; maybe you like the “take them out” and “barbarian” lines.

If you do, though, it flies in the face of your pretty words in Arizona, last January.

And it makes us wonder if we should believe you about anything, anymore; if you don’t mean what you say in big speeches about civility, why should we believe you mean what you say in a “big” speech about something as substantial as jobs.

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