A small s**t storm is stirring over the fact that President Obama chose to spend part of Memorial Day golfing. Yes, he did engage in the honorary practices typical of a president on this day in terms of laying a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And then, in my humble opinion, the president spent it like everyone else — enjoying simple pleasures with family and friends. This makes President Barack Obama a human being, not the insensitive traitor that some people are making him out to be because he did not engage in deep mourning. One British foreign affairs analyst had this to say about Obama playing golf:
Does it matter if the president chooses to play golf on Memorial Day, and for the second time in his presidency (he did so as well in 2009)? I think it does, and it displays extraordinarily bad judgment, not only by Obama himself but also by his advisers. His chief of staff for example should have firmly cautioned against it. President Obama is not just any American but Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces. The United States is currently engaged in a major war in Afghanistan with over 100,000 troops on the ground, and more than 1,500 have already laid down their lives for their country.
The least the president can do on Memorial Day is spend the whole day with veterans and servicemen’s families while acknowledging their sacrifice.
Of course, while this story has been ignored by the mainstream press, right wing bloggers have snatched it up as yet another triffling excuse to attack an African-American leader. I can see how the symbolic role of the president needs to expressed seriously by the holder of that role, but President Obama did that by laying the wreath. The fact is, he is the president and not a priest. Obama did not take vows to denounce all pleasure in life when he was sworn in. And the leader of our armed forces can, by not working, show that he is respecting the meaning of Memorial Day. We are given this day to acknowledge our fallen, and use the time away from the grind to think more deeply about what matters in life, celebrating the goodness of all these soldiers sacrificed for.
But that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Are conservatives correct in lambasting Obama for playing golf on Memorial Day? Or is this just another silly accusation? If you have a fallen soldier in your family, how does this make you feel?
We’re just curious.