Editorial: Obama’s speech didn’t need to be about policy


President Obama delivers an address to the nation on the threat of terrorism from the Oval Office of the White House on Dec. 6, 2015.

Editorial Board

In the wake of ISIL-inspired attacks in Paris and California, President Obama addressed the nation Sunday night from the Oval Office in an attempt to calm the country’s anxiety regarding the growing Islamic extremist terrorist group.

His only third address from the Oval Office, Obama’s speech was less on policy and more on current plans his administration is working out to challenge ISIS.

Delivering this speech from the Oval Office was strategic, designed to send a strong message.

Obama did not reveal any new groundbreaking policies designed to address the problem of terrorism, but that was not the purpose of his speech. He basically reiterated what he’s already said his administration is doing, but what’s more, however, is the encouragement he tried to provide the American people to remember what this country was built upon.

Discussing gun violence was an extremely important part of the speech; however, no new ideas came as a result.

Obama pushed Congress to pass legislation that would make it tougher to purchase firearms, which would include banning anyone on the no-fly list from buying guns, and called to make it harder to purchase assault weapons. He also pushed for stronger screening for anyone trying to come to the United States without a visa and called on Congress again to reauthorize the use of military force against ISIS.

The FBI identified 160 active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013, according to a comprehensive active shooter study conducted by the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice and the University of Texas.

2015 is a different story, with more than 300 mass shootings occurring since the start of the year, according to gunviolencearchive.org.

Touching on the topic was necessary, but the point of the night wasn’t to blast out uprooting policy; it was to calm the nerves of the public and to remind them America is prepared and working with allies to flatten extreme terrorist forces, a pep talk for the people.

Obama also asked that the nation as a whole doesn’t succumb to the false idea of what it is to be Muslim or emit suspicion toward all Muslims or mosques. And he flipped the tables, saying Muslims around the globe must confront the issue within their own communities.

“ISIL does not speak for Islam,” Obama said Sunday. “They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death. And they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world, including millions of patriotic Muslim-Americans who reject their hateful ideology.”

This was a key part of Obama’s speech, and the message the public needs to take away from it.

“This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse,” Obama said. “Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al-Qaida promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”