It seems like everybody is picking on Obama for his remark during the third debate he made about the navy. Some point out that bayonets (and horses) are still used in our armed forces, while suggesting that Obama claimed they weren’t (he actually just claimed we used fewer). Others claim Obama was rude and condescending and that he suggested Romney was unaware things had changed since the days of chariots and spears, but I didn’t take his comments the same way.
When I heard the President speak, I understood that his larger point was that the geopolitical situation had changed so that he was justified in allowing/supporting our relatively low ship count (compared to recent decades). I understood his comments about horses, bayonets, and aircraft carriers to merely be the examples he used to aid the understanding of those watching the debate. It may have been better for him to state the actual reasons of the day rather than use examples, but that doesn’t mean he was being condescending. I didn’t take it that way at all.
Then again, I notice that even outside politics, I’m the last one to notice when people are rude to me. I am more likely to assume someone is having a bad day or just got out of bed than to assume that their lackluster responses indicate any antipathy towards me. Some other people – I notice – are perpetually offended and quick to think the worst of others.
Still, it seems to me that when we focus on little things like this, and when we twist others’ words around, misrepresenting their intentions and mental state, we only drive away those who are on the fence. Even if Obama truly was intending to insult Romney and make him look uninformed, it doesn’t look that way, and so it would be a mistake to claim he was. It just looks bad. Personally, I am not an Obama-supporter, but I believe there are plenty of real reasons to vote against him; we shouldn’t have to make any up.
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.