"It may make your blood boil," the President said, according to remarks made available to the press before the speech. "Your mind may not often be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship."
The national narrative in the media and political circles over today's political rhetoric has focused largely on whether angry statements from right-wing conservatives are bordering on sedition. But while thousands of tea party protesters have peaceably assembled – some legally wearing firearms – attempts to cool the flames by prominent politicians like Obama can have an unintended consequence: further alienating those who feel they have no voice in the political system.
To be sure, Obama has worked to open up the political process – a key to empowering citizens. Today, he urged the passage of the Disclose Act, which would force secretive campaign funders to show their face on political attack ads.