Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Obama the listener

Mr. Norman Brown, Hyattsville, Maryland

I don't listen to Fox News, but the Washington Post claims no one, not even the President's sworn enemies, have said much about Obama's penchant for releasing prisoners, granting clemency. It seems he does it wholesale, and, oddly enough, no one--not even Hannity--raises a stink. 

The Post claims no one cares. They claim the widespread distaste with the fact that we have so many more men and women in prison than any other country, free or not prompts people to let the open prison doors go. Mr. Trump may well aspire to Alexander Putin-type powers, maybe claim the title of being "the law-and-order" President; but the truth is, crime is way down in America, despite people's fears or perceptions. 

Still, numbers of released convicts are amazing. "To date," the Post says, "President Obama has commuted more sentences than his seven predecessors combined." Perhaps Trump hasn't seen the numbers. It's surprising he didn't use it in his doomsday acceptance speech.

The story in yesterday's Post was rich. Reporters interviewed a dozen of Obama's commuted felons, asked them how their lives were going. Some said not good. Some reported pure joy. Most made it clear that just being out is no picnic in the park, given laws that apply to convicted felons. Some are unemployed, but some have jobs. All are happy to be out. 

But I admit to being surprised at how many of them were having real trouble starting another life. I guess I see people bounding out of prison into the arms of loved ones who help them back to once stifling jobs that now, given what they've learned, are perfectly fulfilling.

Not so. 

Norman Brown, of Hyattsville, Maryland, convicted drug dealer, happened to mention something that seemed striking, if for no other reason than I'd not heard it before either. It seems President Obama asked several of his commutees to come to the White House to talk with him about their lives. If that was a photo op, it didn't make the news. 

"President Obama," Brown said, "he wanted to listen."

Brown went on to talk about how he'd thought some of the men's concerns had already begun to change as a result of that meeting, but I found that single line to be so incredible that I want to repeat it just to savor it: "President Obama, he wanted to listen."

It reminded me of his chat with Marilynne Robinson, the Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist from Iowa, who visited the White House at Obama's request and then for a couple of hours, answered his questions. Let me repeat that line too: "answered his questions."

This morning's news is amazing. Trump bests Hillary by five points--44% to 39% in CNN's latest poll. If anything seems clear, Mr. Donald Trump, who is not a reader, is also not a listener. 

Right now, 44% of the American voting public want a Putin. 


Anonymous said...

I think that's a big leap to calling Trump a Putin, just because Obama listens to felons, and Trump supposedly doesn't read. How about listening to the electorate calling for more solutions to the problems of blacks killing blacks in Chicago.
Try reading the WSJ and get a less biased view of the world than the Washington and New York Times.

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of thoughts.

Comey and Lynch beat Obama to the punch, they gave Hillary a"get of jail free card". Lock her up.

Why do we have a lower crime rate? More guns. You can not have it both ways.

I can not wait for the next email release/ dump. There is a good chance we will see emails from Hillary Clinton's basement server.

Side benefit. .. The bright light of truth may incriminate her husband and the Clinton Foundation.

ronvdm said...

At least DT has like minds on his side: Graham, Dobson, Fallwell Jr., and Putin - all good listeners.

Anonymous said...

According to Obama climate change is the largest threat to America. Since criminals are no threat, empty out all the prisons and Guantanamo, he will have all the listening he can handle.