“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”
— Former President Barack Obama
The 44th president of the United States fired this brief message out via Twitter over the weekend.
And what a weekend it was.
A riot broke out in Charlottesville, Va. Three people died as a result of the violence that erupted when white nationalists protested the taking down of a Confederate statue.
Obama’s presidential successor, Donald John Trump, had a chance to lead in the moment. He whiffed. He blew it. He choked.
Then came this tweet from Trump’s immediate predecessor. It has become the second-most “liked” tweet in Twitter history. I’ve been hooked up to Twitter for about five years, so I don’t have deep knowledge of the history of this social medium.
But the former president is so very correct. We aren’t born to hate. It is — if you’ll pardon this expression — a “learned” behavior.
Children who instinctively play with anyone are “taught” by their elders — be they parents, extended family or other so-called “adults” — to mistrust others. It’s a disgraceful, disgusting and so very dishonorable thing to teach our children.
As I look at the above quote from the former president, I am torn by conflicting emotions.
* One is to wish he could return to the post he had to surrender under the rules set for by the U.S. Constitution. I am longing for some semblance of dignity and decorum from our head of state. We aren’t getting anything of the sort from the man who now occupies the presidency.
* The other is to be glad for the president and his family to be away from the spotlight. They stood under the glare of the nation’s highest office for eight years. I am quite certain that historians will judge Barack Obama eventually as one of our nation’s most consequential and successful presidents — despite the partisan battles he fought virtually every step of the way.
Yes, these emotions are fighting with each other. I am afraid the first one — wishing for presidential dignity — is winning the fight.