President Obama spoke out against the terror sieges that have taken place in Paris, France this week and has offered law enforcement and counterintelligence support to France–America’s oldest ally. President Obama pledged to the French people that in the wake of the attack “the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow.” Obama spoke from Pellissippi State Community College in Tennessee, where he proposed to make two years of community college free to those who earn it and decided to speak on Paris’ tragedies as well.
President Obama’s responsibility to speak out stemmed from the United States’ long-standing relationship with France. He said, “I think it’s important for us to understand, France is our oldest ally. I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow,” the president said. “Our thoughts are prayers are with the families who’ve been directly impacted. We grieve with you, we fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values that we share—universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies.”
And speaking to the terrorists (Said and Cherif Kouachi, Hayat Boumeddiene and Amedy Coulibaly) who have caused the carnage in Paris, President Obama said, “And in the streets of Paris, the world has seen once again what terrorists stand for: they have nothing to offer but hatred and suffering. And we stand for freedom and hope and the dignity of all human beings. And that’s what the city of Paris represents to the world. And that spirit will endure forever, long after the scourge of terrorism is banished from this world.”
While we appreciate the President using his platform to speak out against these tragedies in Paris, we’re remembering how long it took him to speak out about Ferguson and the subsequent dialogue around systematic racism and police brutality against minorities. Michael Brown was shot and killed by office Darren Wilson on August 9th. The first time President Obama spoke out about this tragedy right on our home turf was August 18. We’ll let that sink in for a moment.