This past Mother’s Day, US First Lady, Michelle Obama gave an impassioned address about the abducted teenaged girls in Nigeria. The White House highlighted her “thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls.”
Her feelings were heartfelt about “this unconscionable act [that] was committed by a terrorist group” in abducting innocent girls going to school. Mrs. Obama continued that: “in these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters” and “that Barack has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to find these girls and bring them home.”
The crime committed by Boko Haram was horrific and Michelle Obama’s comments were not just a reflection of the country’s disgust with the kidnapping, but a clever use of Mother’s Day to draw the entire nation to the cause.
It made me hopeful that yesterday, on Father’s Day, that the US President would address the country in a similar way, as it was just a few days after three teenage boys were abducted near their school in Israel – especially since one of the boys is a 16-year old American citizen.
But President Obama did not address the abduction at all.
(US Secretary of State John Kerry did offer that “the United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. …We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens.” It is curious that Kerry chose not to mention that one of the teens has dual USA-Israel citizenship- but at least he issued a strong statement.)
While President Obama may not look at these Jewish boys and “see his own daughters”, he should at least see innocent teenagers and especially an American citizen. His outrage should match Michelle’s. His labeling the kidnappers as terrorists should be unequivocal. His efforts to assist Israel to bring them home safely should be unwavering.
President Obama’s annual Father’s Day address talked about the importance of fathers being present to act as fathers to their children. As his wife may remind him, we need the children to be safe at home with them to make that happen.