President Barack Obama offered a rebuttal of a Republican convention portraying a violent and chaotic America, insisting that the nation is largely peaceful and that crime and illegal immigration have fallen during his presidency. "This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn't really jibe with the experience of most people," Obama said at a White House news conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday.
If all you knew about the United States was what you heard from Donald Trump's convention speech, you'd think all 319 million Americans were living in constant sorrow, stuck in a nightmare of our own making. Our miserable country is careening into chaos, with existential threats lurking behind every corner.
Really, it's amazing we get out of bed in the morning.
It's unlikely President Obama watched Trump's remarks, but as Bloomberg Politics reported this morning, he nevertheless took a little time this morning to stick up for the country the Republican nominee is eager to run down.
After Trump insisted violent crime is overtaking American public life, Obama explained, "Although it is true that we've seen an up-tick in murders and violent crime in some cities this year, the fact of the matter is that the murder rate today, the violence rate today, is far lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president, and lower than when I took office."
And what about our porous, dangerous borders? The president also explained that, in reality, illegal border crossings are "lower by two-thirds than it was when Ronald Reagan was president. We have far fewer undocumented workers crossing the border today than we did in the '80s, or the '90s, or when George Bush was president. That's a fact."
As for police officers who are killed in the line of duty, Obama added, "We've just gone through a tragic period. But the fact is that the rate of intentional killings of police officers is also significantly lower than it was when Ronald Reagan was president. Now those are facts. That's data."
Well, sure, if we're going to pretend facts and data matter, these details are probably relevant.
The president went on to say, "I hope people, the next morning, walked outside and birds were chirping and the sun was out and this afternoon, people will be, you know, watching their kids play on sports teams and go to the swimming pool and folks are going to work and getting ready for the weekend."
Sounds like a good idea.
July 22, 201602:38