There is nothing wrong with holding the President, whomever it may be, accountable for the comments that they make to the public on any issue. There is nothing wrong with maintaining a strong position on policy or legislation. But any group that uses a snippet of a conversation, out of context, to promote their position needs to be called out on such an action.
The Reagan Coalition, which uses the Facebook page titled I Will NOT vote for Obama in 2012, often highlights news and speeches from President Obama and the Administration which it disagrees with vehemently. That is a Right that we support. We believe that the views of all groups should be heard, but that does not give them the freedom to misquote or mislead visitors.
On 12/19/12, A post on their site and Facebook page read as: Obama Vows 2nd Amendment Redux. The next line is a direct quote from the President, taken from a 19 minute video clip of the Newtown Prayer Vigil. The quote reads
“In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds…”
This is followed by the video of the speech itself.
The partial quote is found at 12:34 into the video. The full quote, including the statements prior starting at 11:24 in the video, are:
“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change.
We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws, can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown in communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office to engage my fellow citizens – from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators – in an effort aimed at preventing tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events as this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we are powerless, in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited upon our children year after year after year, that somehow is the price of our freedom?
The difference is massive.
President Obama is looking to increase gun regulation. The regulation he has proposed in the past is gun restriction. He has never stated that he wants to re-write the 2nd Amendment. Nor did he do so in this speech.
The Reagan Coalition purposefully took the President out of context, negating both what he said prior to and immediately after the quote snippet they used. The intent was to create a furor among the masses that only read headlines and were unwilling to hear the full speech – or worse counted on the credibility of the site and its authors.
We are strong proponents of the 2nd Amendment. We are critical of the President, his Administration, and both political parties in Congress. Each of them are playing with emotions on multiple subjects to present the public with options that superficially address serious long- and short-term problems facing the nation. Gun control is but one of those subjects.
We are in favor of legislation that actually makes America safer, not falsely filling the public with the impression of safety. We believe in safe-guarding the Rights of the public, and are resistant to whittling away our freedoms for cheap legislative actions that result in no net positive actions. But the words of President Obama, in this speech, do not reflect the fear mongering that the Reagan Coalition title and article attempt to present.
For those of us that have a wide reach and dedicated followers, better should be expected. The Reagan Coalition failed in this article, and we hold them accountable – as we expect others to hold us in our own work. That does not mean that they should be stopped from presenting their views, or completely discredited. But it does mean that we must all take a more critical look at what they present as fact. Which should be the way we look at information from everyone – from major media to the smallest blog.
Here is the video, as provided via Youtube on the Reagan Coalition page.