26 May 2010

Obama Skips Presidential Visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day

Obama to Skip Arlington Ceremonies on Memorial Day: Washington Post

At first I was just puzzled. Not only for Obama's disregard for one of the great American traditions, but even more, that I cared so much about it. I have visited Arlington cemetery several times, and each time the experience was moving. I especially like to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the humble grave of Robert Kennedy, and the more famous of his brother Jack.

But the more I thought about it, it seems like a shocking breach of protocol for a war-time President, the Commander-in-Chief, to skip such a high profile responsibility while brave men bleed for him overseas in his wars. For at this point in his term of office, they are undeniably his wars.

I think it speaks volumes about Obama's tin ear for the common American's sensibilities, another data point for his profile, and how he views things and his relationship to them.

I am sure there are many, many people who would like to be able to have family vacations this weekend as well, who will not be able to, because they have lost their homes, their jobs, their loved ones, and their lives, in the service of a small and increasingly out of touch clique of powerful elitists and oligarchs.

"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods..."

King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 32–37
Postscript: After thinking about this further, I realized why it bothered me so much. My godson is visiting us, taking a little vacation after his high school graduation, and getting into shape, waiting for his 18th birthday in July so he can return home to Florida and enlist in the US Marine Corps. His obvious desire to serve his country, his knowledge of the Corps, and his devotion to his preparations is touching. With so many good people to choose from, why can't America seem to obtain better leaders?