It’s a reasonable point. Guns are an important issue in American life, as are mental health and law enforcement. After an event like the one in Oregon — and in the face of rising crime in some of the nation’s biggest cities — how else to deal with them if not through the political system? That doesn’t necessarily mean new laws should be passed or existing ones changed. But it does mean there should be a debate about it.
And that applies far beyond the issue of guns. Which is why the president’s words might signal a change in his approach to other issues as well. In the past, Obama has urged Americans not to politicize issues that were deeply political in nature but that he wished not to debate. Now, post-Oregon, he has set a new standard for future political arguments. A few examples:
In March of this year, when there was an intense debate about Republican lawmakers’ decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress on the Iran nuclear issue, Obama said, “It is very important for us not to politicize the relationship between Israel and the United States.”