Is it right to politicize events in Libya and Egypt?

Guest Column

In the immediate aftermaths of a tragedy, we expect politicians to set aside their differences and help us come together

as a country.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened in the aftermath of
recent violence overseas.

After a trailer for an Islamophobic movie went viral on Sept. 11, rioters stormed the United States embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, Libya.

In the midst of the chaos, four Americans were
killed, including Ambassador
Christopher Stevens.

Mitt Romney took an early opportunity to lay blame on the president’s administration for a weak foreign policy in a statement that referenced an ongoing narrative that Barack Obama has spent his term apologizing for America’s actions.

Frankly, it comes off as insensitive to take a situation where people have died and turn it into a cheap ploy to score quick
political points.

In the aftermath of tragic events, we expect our politicians to unite us and prove
they can lead.

Many people are still looking for Romney to prove that he would be a better leader than Obama, and he squandered an opportunity to do just that after these events.

Worse yet was when members of both major parties spoke out against Romney’s remarks, doubling down on his criticisms of Obama and showing he simply doesn’t understand how controversial his remarks
really are.

The Romney campaign has worked hard to draw parallels between this election and the 1980 election where Ronald Reagan ran against incumbent President Jimmy Carter.

Carter, like Obama, faced his fair share of criticism coming off a first term that failed to meet expectations.

In both election years we’ve asked ourselves the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

Both Romney and Reagan portrayed themselves as candidates who could fix the problems of today in a way the
incumbents couldn’t.

But as The Atlantic Magazine points out, Reagan took a different approach to a tragedy 32 years ago.

After an April 1980 attempt to free U.S. hostages in Iran failed, Reagan declined to criticize Carter and opted to send out a message of unity that encouraged Americans to come together and pray
for the hostages.

Reagan helped put the events of the Iranian hostage crisis in perspective, showing that such tragedies transcend political bickering and partisanship.

Reagan acted like a leader, and the American people agreed when they elected him as president.

At the end of the day, these attacks on our embassies came as a result of a film that, by all accounts, appears to be made specifically to anger and offend Muslims around the world.

The murder of Americans in Libya is inexcusable, but turning a tragedy into a divisive political talking point does a huge disservice to those killed as well as the American people.

Politicians should work to unite us in situations like this, not look for ways to cheap shot opponents.

If Mitt Romney wants us to draw comparisons between him and Ronald Reagan, he would do well to start acting more like Reagan and prove he’s a leader.

 Derek Letelliersenior from Lincolnshire

studying journalism

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