Las Vegas Sun

August 4, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

President failing to show leadership

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In Eugene Robinson’s column in Sunday’s paper on President Barack Obama winning the argument about what government can and should do, he writes that Republicans want to destroy government. This is the kind of extremism that hampers dialogue on the difficult issues our country faces.

It seems reasonable that people can differ on what is the responsibility of government and what is the responsibility of the individual. Obama is “winning the argument” because there are more voters who accept his premise that they aren’t responsible for their actions and that the government will take care of them. Giving people a pass on the consequences of their actions may win votes, but the consequences of “winning” this argument will be harmful to the country in the long run.

Probably my greatest disappointment with the president is that he has had the opportunity to exhibit real leadership but seems completely uninterested in raising any painful truths.

For example, one of the obvious causes of our education problems, poverty and violence is children being brought up in single-parent families.

The president could exhibit leadership by taking a strong public position that people should have a real commitment (ideally marriage) to each other before having children. His proposal for an additional year of early-childhood education can’t hurt, but as extensive studies of Head Start have shown, it may not do much to help.

Since pandering to win votes isn’t necessary for the president anymore, why not be honest about one of the main underlying causes of poverty and violence and try to create real and lasting change? Unfortunately, the president has mainly shown interest in winning arguments that involve telling people what they want to hear.

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