President Obama shared his opinions on violence in a recent interview with New Republic magazine. More specifically, he shared his very private perspective on gun control and football. He also tried to make sense of the dysfunction amongst the nation’s two political parties, and even admitted that right now is “not a fun time to be a member of Congress.”
“I’m a big football fan,” Obama told the magazine, “but I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football. And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.”
The impact that the game takes on its players has recently come to light due to the increased number of head injuries and the rise of in suicide rate in football players.
“I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players,” Obama elaborated, “in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they’re grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies. You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That’s something that I’d like to see the NCAA think about.”
On gun control:
“Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” explained Obama, after asked if he’d ever fired a gun before in his life. “Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.”
Obama says he tries to see both sides of the gun control arguement. “Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas,” he remarked. “And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family’s traditions, you can see why you’d be pretty protective of that. So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.”
Obama charges that the Second Amendment is “important” and that the rights of responsible gun owners should be respected. “In formulating our plans, Joe Biden met with a wide range of constituencies, including sportsmen and hunters,” Obama said. “So much of the challenge that we have in our politics right now is that people feel as if the game here in Washington is completely detached from their day-to-day realities. And that’s not an unjustifiable view. So everything we do combines both a legislative strategy with a broad-based communications and outreach strategy to get people engaged and involved, so that it’s not Washington over here and the rest of America over there.”
Seeing any type of results in Washington right now, is almost impossible. “There are going to be a whole bunch of initiatives where I can get more than fifty percent support of the country,” Obama says, “but I can’t get enough votes out of the House of Representatives to actually get something passed.”
In his 45 minute meeting with New Republic’s Franklin Foer and Chris Hughes, Obama also talked about Syria and at length over the friction in government. He ended the candid interview with these altruistic words:
“You make the decisions you think balance all these equities, and you hope that, at the end of your presidency, you can look back and say, I made more right calls than not and that I saved lives where I could, and that America, as best it could in a difficult, dangerous world, was, net, a force for good.”
For the excellent, full interview with our nation’s President head to NewRepublic.com.