Does criticism of President Obama cause disunity in the United States?I (Pohnpei397) changed the question above to say what I think it means.  The original question is below.  Perhaps other...

Does criticism of President Obama cause disunity in the United States?

I (Pohnpei397) changed the question above to say what I think it means.  The original question is below.  Perhaps other answerers will interpret it differently.

To me, Barack Obama has been criticized in a precocious way. Isn't this to imbalance what can be done to unify ideas and forces?

Asked on by lilliana

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I am not sure I understand your question correctly because you have used at least one word (precocious) incorrectly.  I think you are saying that harsh criticism of Obama makes it more difficult to unify the country.  Is that correct?

I would agree that harsh criticism of President Obama makes it difficult for the country to unify.  Criticism of the president is often very personal -- not just limited to a criticism of his policies.  It is clear that many conservatives hate him personally.

However, it is not the criticism of President Obama that has caused disunity in the US.  It is just another symptom of a problem we have had for a long time.  I could have written the last paragraph during the Bush administration and it would have applied equally to him (except that liberals, not conservatives, hated him personally).

There are many reasons why the US is becoming so politically disunified, but it has not been caused by the criticism of the current president.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It's a cause and effect question.  Is there criticism of President Obama?  Most certainly, and a lot of it vicious.  Is there disunity in America? Certainly, though perhaps to a lesser degree than many would have us believe.  But does one cause the other?

We have a duty in a democracy to criticize our government, to hold them accountable to both the Constitution they were elected to protect, and the viewpoints the majority of Americans have towards their agenda.  It keeps government less corrupt than it would be otherwise, and less likely to abuse power in general.

There are many, many other causes of the disunity there is.  The media, particularly cable news (on both sides of the spectrum) that would have us believe everyone in America is either a conservative or a liberal - most Americans are moderates.  Talk Radio is doing it's best to keep us divided, or to give the appearance of division.  So are many politicians who try to capitalize on it.  Those in the media and public eye are getting very, very rich off of keeping us divided in broadcast deals and book contracts.

We need to keep in mind that the vast majority of Americans love their country, want what's best for their kids, want to work hard, want the next generation to be better off, etc. In other words, there are many more things that unite us than divide us.

I think as long as we have a for profit media system, and a population unwilling or unable to look for their own reliable sources of objective information, we will have disunity.

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Certainly, this will evoke a great many responses. I think that the posts that will be presented could offer such divergence.  There seems to be two issues here.  The first would be the criticism that the President has received.  The original question seems to suggest that there has been a different level of venom involved in the criticisms of the President.  I think that there has been some severe critiques offered of the President, and this could be chalked up to the intensity of the issues he has initiated in the first two years of his term.  There have been those who have engaged in criticisms that have been unique to this particular President.  The movement that seeks to question or authenticate the birth of the President as an American citizen would be one of the first to jump to mind.  Additionally, I cannot recall a time when a President addressed both houses of Congress and was heckled with "You Lie!" while he was speaking.  Those have been new to the terrain.  At the same time, the level of intensity in the debate could simply be because there is an anti- incumbent feeling in America right now and the level of emotion in the emotions raised are fairly high.  The second issue might be more broad about criticism of public officials such as the President.  As far as America has been present, I think that the nation has grown and developed as a process of dissent and disagreement.  The moments in our history where the discussion have been the loudest and most dissonant have been the instances where individuals have risen to their best and have shown the greatest in our national character.  The anger that sparked Shays' Rebellion,  debates on Abolitionism, the emergence of the fight for women's rights, as well as the fights for the working class and all the way to the protest movements of the 1960s and beyond have been moments where criticism might have prompted fears of social disunity and actually served to strengthen bonds.

akplotkin's profile pic

akplotkin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Disunity is defined as the lack of unity. Criticism of President Obama does not cause disunity, but it will affect the unity of among Democrats, and among Republicans.

Disunity is built into a two-party system. Democrats and Republicans are all politicians, but they are not all included in one unified group. Politicians and a majority of the voting public are loyal to their chosen party.

(Note: In the Senate and the House of Representatives, a majority of votes are required to pass a law or bill. Even with a majority, some disunity will remain from those in the minority.)

Criticism of President Obama does affect the unity of politicians and the voting public, within each party. One substantial criticism or the sum of many criticisms may cause people and politicians to rethink their party loyalty and their level of support of the President. When the President's level of support rises or falls, disunity is affected.

The saying,"United we stand, divided we fall," implies that unity is more substantial and powerful than disunity.

write2life's profile pic

write2life | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Criticism of President Obama may cause discussions of disunity in the United States.  But healthy discussions and constructive criticism are the hallmark of good feedback for a successful president.  Let's look at the groups that may be discontent or find no satisfaction in the way President Obama is performing in this his second year in office.  Afterall, we want to know if the criticism is fair, don't we?

The most common of Obama critics are probably the far "right wing conservatives" and the other group would be white supremacists.  Conservatives have a legitimate political platform which will automatically be opposed to the position of a liberal president especially in his second year of office when he's not had much time to change what he has inherited from the previous administration.  Therefore, the criticism is not so much as against Obama the person as it may be against Obama the politician.  This kind of criticism is good for the Obama administration.  There is balance and polarity in right and left politics just as in physics.

One thing is true that Mr. Obama said during his campaign for presidency and that was "a change is coming."  There are some white supremacist groups that are outraged about any position and/or action Obama the man will take.  That is just the nature of the beast and mentality of that particular group.  Obama as the first black president of the United States can expect some unhappy campers.

"Barack Obama is facing escalating death threats from white supremacists, according to senior law enforcement officers, prompting severe security restrictions in Washington DC. Police sources said credible threats had been made, but the FBI denied that at the weekend, saying no specific plots had emerged. Still, agents acknowledged they were receiving more and more tips about suspicious activities."  This group is basically disunited from most of America therefore, their criticism lends little credence.

"At 50 percent, Mr. Obama's approval rating is similar to that of Presidents Ronald Reagan (49 percent), Jimmy Carter (51 percent) and Bill Clinton (54 percent) one year into their presidencies. All were plagued by economic troubles – and Mr. Clinton also attempted to reform health care."  These are some of America's greatest presidents.  So, I'd say, "Mr. Obama is in great company." 

The real issue is whether bad talk about the president is causing Americans to lose the "unity" in the United States?  Let 'em talk all they want.  I believe that we are still united. It would take more than words to divide this great nation. 

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