It has been said that the art of politics is compromise. Mention that these days and it is entirely likely you will be accused of being a traitor by those on one of the poles to which political discourse seems to have been relegated. Perhaps both sides will flail away at you.

Former President Barack Obama had something to say about that the other day. Wisely, he directed his comments at those more likely to support liberal candidates and causes than conservative ones — but what he said has value no matter where you stand, left or right.

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically ‘woke’ and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly,” Obama said during his Obama Foundation Summit, held in Chicago.

“The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws,” Obama continued.

Then, warming to his topic, Obama launched into social media. “I do get a sense sometimes [that] now, among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, that the way of making me change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people — and that’s enough,” he commented. “Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right, or used the wrong verb, then I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because, ‘Man, did you see how woke I was? I called you out.’ That’s not activism. That is not bringing about change. If all you’re doing is casting stones, you are probably not going to get that far.”

Amen, Mr. President.

We in the United States have been fortunate that, more often than not, our former presidents have served as “elder statesmen.” They have done the most difficult job on the planet. They have made decisions of war and peace. They have changed our country, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

But they understand politics and, more important, governance.

Good for Obama for injecting an important note of realism into public discourse. Those farthest out on both sides, conservative as well as liberal, would do well to heed his advice.

There is a “silent majority” in the United States. At some point, its members are going to reflect that the extremists in both political parties are doing an enormous disservice to all Americans.

(14) comments

bishopsboy

“The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

Hmmm....I wonder if that statement applies to Founding Fathers or Confederate Generals who did many great things but have been demonized by the Left?

R B Tate

Probably not, bishopsboy. I really don't know why, but I understand that the New York Times has rewritten a U.S. history (1619 project?) that explains it all. Hopefully some "woke" progressives can provide the details.

sbsheridan

Now you're blaming the left for the deeds of Confederate Generals? OK, I confess -- my great-great-great-great-grandmother introduced Jefferson to Sally Hemings.

bishopsboy

No, dearest Susan, I'm not blaming the left for anything Confederate Generals did. I'm recognizing that the Founding Fathers born into and raised in a society where slavery is commonplace might accept slavery as permissible and yet still do great things that they should be recognized and honored for. Likewise, for Confederate Generals.

paulgarber

This idea of a silent majority is freaking me out for it is the women. I did not vote, out of laziness, and a doting disinterest.

LVW

It is amazing how many of the posters here hate everything Obama, yet have no tolerance for anybody criticizing Trump in any way (and there is a whole lot to criticize about Trump). Own it!

sbsheridan

These comments serve mostly as examples of what NOT to do. Congratulations, people, you are making a bad situation worse. You might want to reconsider your tactics.

Driller

DeftCurmudgeon What does Obama know is coming? Where is Rudy and William Barr. Haven't heard anything from them lately. Maybe they know what is coming for them.

DeftCurmudgeon

Durham is coming.

DANT

Why would anyone listen to what a FAILED president has to say? The sheep keep gathering around the pied piper who took them for a disastrous 8 year ride. Obama got extremely rich during that 8 years but no one from the left seems to mind. Obama was worth a little over 1 million $$$ when he became president and this past year he bought a home for 15 million......I don't think his book sold that many copies! Maybe we should be looking into that especially after what we know the Bidens were doing during Obama's term!

sbsheridan

Apparently, a lot of people want to listen. The Obama's are reported to be receiving a $65 million advance for their next, joint book. A $15 million house is a piece of cake. But this is still a lot less than a lot of sports figures earn, and many don't care about them.

bknjholl

Well spoke. Concerning the final point,

"There is a “silent majority” in the United States. At some point, its members are going to reflect that the extremists in both political parties are doing an enormous disservice to all Americans."

Yes, there are those who have real lives and live them fully without spending an hour or two digesting the day's political news, but they are far from silent. There is no magical silent majority that can save us all from our sins.

Yes, the ability to govern ourselves effectively is directly proportional to how much we allow the political extremes to be in charge. Extremists ruin governance. That can be fixed today friends. Go vote.

Whalebroc

These comments are much better than when Obama first left office and he was paranoid about his “legacy”, (cough, cough) Glad to see he may be calming down on his rhetoric although, we’ll see if it continues.

The cancel culture is interesting when it starts devouring its own. Haha.

DeftCurmudgeon

Obama's keeping his mouth shut these days because he knows what's coming.

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