Obama Warns Campus Protesters Not To ‘Shut Up’ Opposition, Like Conservatives Do

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Sometimes Progress Is A Little Uncomfortable’: President Obama On Identity Politics.

In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep late last week, President Obama spoke at length on subject of identity. The most interesting moment in President Obama’s interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition,” which was released Monday, had little to do with the big foreign or domestic policy battles of the moment.

Obama gave a wide-ranging interview on topics from ISIS to Donald Trump, and one of the topics NPR interviewer Steve Inskeep asked him to touch upon was protests on college campuses, specifically the efforts to change Harvard Law School’s seal and to rename Yale University’s Calhoun College. There are the physical logistics of it — getting together the interviewer, editors, producer, engineer, and a five-person video crew, plus all that audio and video equipment. Above, Obama pauses during remarks on the recent shootings in California, after meeting with victims’ families at Indian Springs High School, in San Bernardino, California, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. Here’s his explanation for calling the GOP’s stance an outlier on climate, even compared with “far-right” parties in other places: “Even far-right parties in other places acknowledge that the science shows that temperatures are going up and that that is a really dangerous thing we’ve got to do something about,” Obama said. What is it that’s bothering people?’ Now you’ve had several more years to think about that.…” Obama interrupted his interviewer and initially dismissed the question. “Well, keep in mind, Steve, I was elected twice by decent majorities,” he said.

Conservatives in other major democracies are often less likely than liberals — sometimes by wide margins — to believe that climate change will harm them personally and that rich countries should do more to stop climate change. Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep has interviewed the president eight times, and he stopped by the NPR Politics Podcast to take you behind his latest, year-end interview with President Obama. At the University of Missouri, campus protesters drove the president out of office, and then received negative attention when a supportive professor tried to block media from covering their activism. He’s joined by political editor Domenico Montanaro, visuals editor Kainaz Amaria and campaign reporter Sam Sanders. “They have an aura about them because they are president, you have to respect that,” Inskeep said. “Yet, on another level, this is a democracy. At Yale University, faculty members Erika and Nicholas Christakis have both stopped teaching after they were targeted by protesters for an email Erika sent urging people not to get upset about Halloween costumes. (RELATED: Yale Student Shrieks At Professor For Denying Her ‘Safe Space’) “If somebody doesn’t believe in affirmative action, they may disagree — you may disagree with them,” he said. “I disagree with them, but have an argument with them.

Then the president acknowledged that some of the questions he has faced about his place of birth, his patriotism and his faith may be the product of a lingering intolerance and fear of change in the country. “If you are referring to specific strains in the Republican Party that suggest that somehow I’m different, I’m Muslim, I’m disloyal to the country, etc. … what I’d say there is that that’s probably pretty specific to me and who I am and my background, and that in some ways I may represent change that worries them,” Obama said. Gay marriage, the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, the question of whether to admit Syrian refugees into the country, the question of whether to admit Muslims into the country. A recent wave of fear and suspicion in the electorate has helped fuel the rise of outsider presidential candidates, such as Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

And you should engage.” Overall, though, Obama described campus activism as a “good thing,” and said he simply feared “a situation in which particular points of view that are presented respectfully and reasonably are shut down.” Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. Obama has tended to dismiss the phenomenon as a historical blip in a country that is becoming more open and tolerant. “I do think that the country is inexorably changing, I believe in all kinds of positive ways,” Obama told NPR. “I think we are — when I talk to my daughters and their friends, I think they are more tolerant, more welcoming of people who are different than them, more sophisticated about different cultures and what’s happening around the world.” In addition, the U.S. and Australia’s conservative parties stood out in their opposition to state interventions to limit the effects of climate change. (The paper was pointed to by Jonathan Chait in a New York Magazine piece on the GOP’s climate positions) Obama’s challenge to the GOP came in response to a question from Inskeep about whether a future president might undo his work on the nonbinding climate deal.

What is the reason, the cause, what has caused that issue of who we are to come forward again and again and again at this moment in history?” President Obama: “Steve, it never went away. Sometimes it pops up a little more prominently, sometimes it gets tamped down a little bit, but this has been true since the founding and the central question of slavery, and who is a citizen and who is not. Ted Cruz called climate change “the perfect pseudoscientific theory for a big-government politician who wants more power.” (Cruz once voted to say climate change is real, though he has since cast doubt on the notion of climate change.) And this is where one huge partisan divide shows up among presidential candidates: All of the remaining Democratic candidates have pledged to combat climate change. You know, during that process there’s going to be some noise and some discomfort, but I am absolutely confident that over the long term, it leads to a fair, more just, healthier America.

I think really what’s changed over the last several years is the pervasiveness of smart phones and the visuals that suddenly have sparked a conversation about how we can deal with it.

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