President Obama barely mentioned terrorism in his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation, spending a couple of minutes on the subject. It was actually the first time since 9/11 that a president failed to mention Al Qaeda – you remember them – and of course the term "Islamic terrorism" was completely off limits.
Instead of violent terrorism, President Obama preferred to focus on the slowly recuperating economy and a panoply of new proposals that would take from the productive in order to give "free" stuff to everybody else.
Hey, playing Robin Hood is fun. You get to be loved by just about everyone, especially the recipients of your largesse. It's far tougher being the Sheriff of Nottingham, tasked with finding and capturing the terrorists lurking in our global forest.
So the president's choice of topics was completely understandable. But there's also something known as reality. The speech came just two weeks after the murderous terror attacks in Paris by Islamic radicals. Yes, it's okay to use the word "Islamic" when killers claim to be avenging their prophet.
Beyond that, the State of the Union was delivered just one week after the release of a revealing new study. Each year Pew Research surveys Americans to determine what issues concern them most. Jobs, the economy, and education, as always, were near the top of the list. But in 2015, for the first time in five years, Americans' #1 policy priority is defending the United States against terrorism. Let that soak in: We the people want President Obama and Congress, above all else, to protect the homeland.
It should be mentioned that the poll was conducted soon after the slaughter at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, so that attack was in our headlines and in our heads. But this is about more than just timing. Americans know in their gut that this administration, taking its cues from the boss, does not have a real strategy to defeat the jihad, even with ISIS firmly entrenched in Syria and Iraq.
There seems to be a new horror story from the so-called Muslim world just about every day. Jihadis throw men to their death for "engaging in homosexual activities," alleged adulteresses are stoned to death, accused thieves are killed by a mob, and Boko Haram continues its reign of terror. Most recently, ISIS shot and killed 13 teenage boys in Mosul, a city that was under U.S. control before President Obama abandoned Iraq. Their crime – watching a soccer match on TV, a violation of Sharia law. This is a strain of barbarism that would make Genghis and Attila proud.
We have been on a 14-year horror odyssey during which we have spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of military people. Still, jihad remains a major problem. President Obama averts his glance from Islamic atrocities, and does not even want to define them clearly. But things are clearly getting worse overseas and Americans know that we, like Parisians, are not immune. Thus the Pew Research results.
By the way, Pew also gave Americans the opportunity to opine on the importance of global warming, which is usually dead last on the list of priorities. This time around, warming leapfrogged over global trade and came in second-to-last. Nevertheless, President Obama actually said this Tuesday night: "No challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change." Really, Mr. President? You can repeat that all you want, and you can even double up on the words "no challenge" for added effect, but the folks aren't buying it. The challenge for our generation, and for generations to come, is finding a way to stop Muslim-generated terrorism … and the climate of fear it engenders. The American people have spoken. Is anybody listening?