Yahoo asked Americans to react to President Barack Obama's address on Syria on Tuesday evening. Here's one perspective.
COMMENTARY | As Obama took to the podium to address the nation about the situation in Syria, there was a certain disposition to him. When the president took office for the first time in 2008, he promised a change in the politics of the nation. In many ways, and perhaps for the first time, that change was on full display for the country to see. While the speech itself was done in typical Obama fashion, a few particular things stood out to this voter from New York City, especially on the eve of 9/11.
A belief in the Constitution: Obama started off with an appealing allusion to the Constitution and reaffirmed his belief in our democracy. Furthermore, by distancing himself and this situation from the country's recent past, he was able to set the table for what was to come.
The vivid, horrifying details: Perhaps the most powerful part of the address was Obama's vivid description of the horrifying deaths of innocent Syrian children at the hands of Assad's chemical weapons. As a listener, you were forced to put yourself in the situation, at least for a moment. By personifying the victims with such clarity, defending the innocent seems much more like a necessary evil than something that should be avoided at all costs.
Directly responding to the concerns of real people: Obama's unprecedented decision to go methodically through each and every possible concern that real voters have had was, quite frankly, a stroke of genius. Not only was he able to present himself in a more understanding, in-touch light, but he was also able to reassure his doubters that, at the very least, he is well aware of the consequences of such an action.
By postponing the congressional vote on an airstrike against Assad, albeit one that was unlikely to be approved, Obama was once again able to present himself as a president who is in touch with the people.
Of course, nobody ever feels good about war, something that the president reminded us of time and time again, but this speech certainly put things a bit more into perspective.
- Politics & Government
- President Barack Obama