Don't Cry for Me, Syria

At the announcement of his meaningless executive orders on gun control Wednesday, the president appeared to get emotional, tears welling in his eyes at the thought of innocent children being wounded and killed. It seemed out of character for the supposedly “No Drama Obama,” and some questioned his sincerity, provoking the usual outrage from the left.

Note the false premise in that tweet, and (as usual) inability of leftists to grant any sort of good faith to their political opponents. As it happens, it is, in fact, possible to both be horrified at mass killings, and still disagree about the proposed solutions to them.

Louise Mensch says that he was in tears because, in the last year of his presidency, he has gone from magic to toxic: “…the public sobbing over something he did nothing to fix just strikes America as the tears of a clown.”

But I’m actually willing to grant him sincerity here, which is a problem in itself. The interesting question to me is not what he cries about, but what he does not, and why.

For instance, I don’t recall reports of him shedding any tears when, after he declared a “red line” over Syria’s use of chemical and biological weapons, Bashir Assad gassed children to death with chlorine, but perhaps I missed it.

Did he get all weepy when children were being literally crucified by ISIS for not properly fasting during Ramadan? If so, it went unreported.

In fact, a Google search of “Obama tears” reveals no other reported instances of presidential lachrymosity. It’s all about Sandy Hook.

This sort of thing isn’t new, of course. Many have noted that when talking about the terror attacks in Paris, or about the Syrian refugee crisis, the only time the normally phlegmatic president seems to show any anger or emotion is when he discusses not the terrorism, but what is, in his mind, the true enemy: Republicans:

Obama talks tough or at least talks about the concept of being tough. But not with terrorists or ISIS. Just the other day President Obama mocked the idea of bellicose speech when it comes to those bad guys. No, only one set of bad guys elicits strong emotions from Obama: his critics. And among them, most especially Republican ones. Because the only real enemy he’s aware of are enemies of his precious legacy.

So what is it about children being shot by a mentally disturbed man, but not children being gassed or tortured to death, that provokes the waterworks? It comes down, I think, to agenda.

To recognize the horrific nature of what is happening to children and others in the Middle East (largely as a result of his own policies) would require him to actually do something about it. In the case of Syria, he would have to actually follow through on his “red line,” and take whatever steps are necessary to actually end the Assad regime. In the case of ISIS, it would mean actually defeating and destroying them, not occasional and largely ineffective airstrikes, due to concerns about civilian casualties. In both cases, it would involve “boots on the ground,” something he is loath to do, given his Nobel-worthy self image as someone elected not to win wars but to “end” them. To cry over child crucifixions would imply that it was an important issue to him, but clearly, based on his behavior, it is not.

Crying over school shootings, on the other hand, gives him moral authority (at least in his own mind) to do things he’s been wanting to do for years. He’s long been using the hitherto unknown “We can’t wait” and “Congress won’t act” clauses of the Constitution as the basis for his illegal executive orders. Now he has a new one. Now he’ll justify his unconstitutional and tyrannical behavior with the “It makes me sad and angry” clause. The tears were largely boob bait for his fans, who imagine that there is such a thing as a “gun-show” or “Internet” “loophole” for purchasing guns. His “executive actions” won’t prevent a single gun death, but they do reveal what is important to him, even as the Middle East, including its children, continues to burn.