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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Tom Driscoll
Sept. 11, 2013 11:05 a.m.







The complaint I heard from a friend of mine, about President Obama’s speech last night, was that it was disingenuous on the count of “policing.” The President cited messages he’d received from concerned American citizens with skepticism and reservation about his proposed action, among these that we should not be “the world’s policemen.” The President said he agreed how we should not, my friend complains, and then went on to explain how we would be.

I understand my friend’s point, but I wonder if the President wasn’t confronting a complexity that needs confronting, even if it means standing accused of contradiction. If not the world’s policeman, maybe what he proposes is that we act as the citizen we are, the human being.

If you see your neighbor mercilessly abusing his child and it’s plain that for corrupt reasons his actions are not being policed, that he is behaving monstrously and with impunity, to the point of committing obvious crime, and you are confident in your own judgement and in your ability to intervene effectively against the criminal abuse and confront the conscience of not only the abuser, but the many who had allowed and enabled him, then you act. Indiscriminate restraint has just as many dangers as indiscriminate action. If the prospect of your action succeeds in wakening the conscience of those around you from their complacency and complicity then you welcome them into the effort they should have been joined in all along. That’s not policing. That’s citizenship.

I think President Obama’s call to act has already had some positive effect. As an American, as a citizen, and as a human being, I am proud of him.

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