Over the weekend President and First Lady Obama celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary with a dinner at the Blue Duck Tavern in Georgetown. Mark Silva wrote at The Swamp politics blog that he was troubled “that a simple date at a relatively modestly priced Washington restaurant to celebrate a wedding anniversary - the first for the first couple in the White House - could generate as much venom as it has.” He said it “suggests something deeply troubling about the American mood.”
Silva cited the timing, “at a juncture when several American soldiers have fallen at war in Afghanistan,” and the public expense for the outing are what appear to have “raised a lot of ire,” but noted that past White Houses in modern times have not cancelled similar activities during times of war. He then pointed to Jimmy Carter’s recent charges of racism declaring the real problem might be “the inability of a lot of people to accept a black man as president.”
He based this determination on “dozens” of comments to his post with “overt expressions of racism.” I don’t know exactly what that means because the comments were withheld from publication. I don’t doubt that there are stupid people who like to anonymously leave racist comments on blogs. But racism is not the reason for the “American mood” regarding date night or many other issues.
Silva and others who don’t seem to understand the complaints may not be looking at things in full context and defaulting to “racism” as an explanation just ensures they will never “get” what many across the country are feeling.
This weekend’s anniversary outing was not the first presidential “date night” to receive attention. A more high profile date, the jaunt to New York a few months ago for dinner and a show, was promoted by many in the media in “puff” pieces celebrating the love of the first couple. What many in the public were more interested in though, was the cost to taxpayers.