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Apparently Unselfishness, Education, and Kindness are now Partisan Issues


President Obama Joplin Commencement Speech 5/21/12: You will encounter greed and selfishness and ignorance and cruelty, and sometimes just bad luck. You’ll meet people who’ll try to build themselves up by tearing others down. You’ll meet people who believe that looking after others us only for suckers.

But you’re from Joplin…You’ll remember that in a town of 50,000 people nearly 50,000 more came in to help in the weeks after the tornado. Perfect strangers who’d neve met you and didn’t ask for anything in return.

President Obama offered a dignified and inspiring commencement speech at a Joplin Missouri High School the other day. Joplin was a town hard hit by deadly tornados almost exactly a year ago. The President emphasized the decency of the many people who offered to help in the wake of the disaster, the courage and resilience of Joplin citizens, and the lessons about pulling together as a community that the young people of Joplin should carry away from the experience.

So naturally he’s being reviled for it in many right wing outlets. The Daily Caller has offered the damning observation that he used the word “march” a couple of times (which, you see, makes the speech “militaristic.”) and counted the number of times he used the word “community” in a speech specifically about a community recovering from a terrible natural disaster. (He used the word seven times which means he’s a COMMUNist!) Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit denounced Obama praising the students for working together after the tornados as “Socialist BS.” (The correct, all-American response in Hoft’s mind would have been for the residents to transform post-tornados Joplin into an every-man-for-himself Libertarian hellscape.)

And Fox Nation derided it as a “stump speech,” in particular objecting to Obama’s reference to people who “try to build themselves up by tearing others down; who believe looking after others is only for suckers.”

It bothers the folks at Fox that he talked as if that were a bad thing.

I am an optimist in that I believe, in the long run, intelligence and common decency will prevail. I believe that future Americans — even those who might not be fans of President Obama — will look back on the comments from these right wingers in the wake of Obama’s Joplin speech and shake their heads in wonder at their sheer, unthinking malice and stupidity.

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