Should President Obama Address Rumors of Election Unrest Before the Election?
Our nation has always prided itself on an orderly transition of presidential power.
Nothing showcases that orderly transition more than the president and the president-elect together riding in a limo up to Capitol Hill for the inauguration ceremony.
This limo ride is especially noteworthy if the president-elect has just defeated the president. You have to go all the way back to 1992, after President Bill Clinton defeated President George H.W Bush for the last time such an awkward ride occurred.
However, if President Obama is defeated, will his January limo ride with Mitt Romney be as smooth?
Maybe not, because as the presidential election wines down, there are two disturbing issues swirling around the blogosphere that have become nearly impossible to ignore.
Even worse, are increasing threats of an assassination attempt against Governor Romney if President Obama is defeated.
“The Secret Service is aware of this and will conduct appropriate follow up if necessary,” Brian Leary, a spokesman for the United States Secret Service, says in an email, from a piece by the Weekly Standard that was linked on Drudge.
With both these news items going viral, there are several questions that come to mind.
First, should President Obama address these issues?
My answer is “yes.”
For, if on the day before the election, the polls show a genuine tie, President Obama has an obligation to the American people to make a prime-time televised address asking all Americans to stay calm.
Certainly an address of this nature would be historic, awkward — but necessary — if news reports of potential unrest or worse continue to abound.
In his speech, President Obama should mention that in our nation’s history there is no tradition of citizens erupting in violence if the election outcome is not to their liking. Furthermore, our non-violent tradition must continue, or our reputation as the world’s most stable and leading democracy would be challenged.
Second, should Mitt Romney address this issue on the day before the election?
Yes, I believe Romney should ask for national calm if Obama does not.
Third, should Obama and Romney together make a nationally televised statement addressing this issue?
In my opinion, a joint statement would send the strongest signal to the electorate that violence would not be tolerated, no matter who wins the White House.
A joint statement would be especially prudent if, for example, before Election Day it was reported that some governors have activated the National Guard as a preventive measure.
Given the polarized state of the American electorate, mixed with the extreme passion and high tension that is now prevalent, anything is possible on the evening of or day after the election.
Just because election unrest or violence is politically incorrect to discuss, this would not preclude it from happening.