Gary Wisenbaker Blog
Gary Wisenbaker
Charleston: A Crisis Calls for Unity, not Division
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste

Politicizing a tragedy 

No sooner had the next of kin been notified in the tragic and senseless Charleston church murders last Wednesday than President Obama, defaulting into his “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste” position, renewed a call for gun control and pitted black and against white.

It was somewhat creepy, as if it was the moment he’d been waiting for in order to advance standard progressive liberal causes and themes.

Of the 866 words in his address to the nation the day after the killings, 140 were of condolences and grief, the rest blamed guns and society. He later opined in an interview that the murders showed that the country was “not cured of racism.”

The president, of course, didn’t cancel the WTF with Marc Maron podcast garage interview nor a DNC fundraiser in Beverly Hills two days after the murders. While there’s something to be said for a president keeping an official schedule in the face of a crisis to assure the nation, one would think that events planned solely for personal and political financial aggrandizement could be culled.  But not in this administration.

Obama sallied forth because he’d found his boogey men:  insufficient national gun control laws and, of course, racism.  You see, the progressive liberal mindset does not believe in personal responsibility. Therefore, the sick, hate filled, determined punk Dylann Roof, perpetrating this crime cannot be held personally responsible for his own actions.  There must be something more sinister, something darker, some “vast conspiracy”.

And to the liberal progressive way of thinking, there is.  

This tragic event happened because America doesn’t have confiscatory gun laws. “This type of violence doesn’t happen in other advanced countries,” Obama lectured, meaning, of course, that where there are laws keeping guns out of the hands of the citizenry, there are no massacres.

Tell that to the families of the victims in the kosher market killings recently in Paris, or the 7 killed in a Netherlands mall in 2011, or the 69 killed at a Norway summer camp in 2011, or the 3 killed in an Australian café in 2014, or the…well, you get the point.  The truth, however, has never been an impediment to this administration and its agenda.

It happened because society allowed it to happen.  After all, Americans are racist; “It’s in our DNA,” according to Obama.  To get to that conclusion one has to pay no attention to the fact that Americans elected a black to the presidency not once, but twice.  And one has to overlook the thousands that thronged the Ravenel Bridge in Charleston last Sunday uniting their black and white hands protesting the murders.  

This, of course, segues into one of the progressive left’s favorite punching bags: southern heritage and culture.  That southerners are predominately conservative, religious and patriotic Americans makes it just that much more irresistible.  The mainstream media and other left leaning media outlets have raised their disdain for these southern “racist” attributes to such an art form that even normally level headed, clear thinking southern leaders can be cowed into submission.  

Witness South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and other South Carolina leaders’ call just six days after the shooting for the removal of a Confederate flag from the grounds of the state Capitol. The implication is that removing the flag removes the hate.  Surely the presence of the flag, 115 miles away from Charleston, so emboldened Roof that he was compelled to massacre nine innocent black Americans.  Whatever action South Carolina takes regarding the flag is its prerogative; doing so now makes its leadership look weak and manipulatable

“That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” Governor Haley reasoned.  

That’s all well and fine.  But here’s how another prominent southern political leader in neighboring Savannah, Georgia, viewed the flag and a Confederate monument in a city park on Confederate Memorial Day, 1998:  

''We must all work together, regardless of what ethnicity we are. We are one America, one Georgia and -- most of all -- we are one Savannah.” 
Credit these words to then-Savannah Mayor Floyd Adams Jr., Savannah's first black mayor, now deceased. Mayor Adams added that everyone, black and white, should be proud of their common heritage. He sought to unite the people of his city, state and nation.

And this is the difference between fostering unity or divisiveness: leadership.  

Rather than press and resurrect issues that divide Americans like gun control and charges of racism, rather than call for the repression of a cultural heritage, rather than introduce these non sequiturs into a discussion about the causes of a tragedy to push a political agenda, today’s national and state leaders should talk about what unites our nation: We are all Americans and we will rise above this. 

Confiscate the guns, hammer home that racism is “in our DNA”, remove all the flags and monuments memorializing a cultural heritage and you’re still left with evil, hatred and meanness.  You’re still left with the Dylann Roofs of the world. You’re still left with the human heart.

Personal freedom and liberty are sacrosanct in our body politic; they should not be compromised by ephemeral events. 

Then again, you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.


Gary Wisenbaker, B.A., J.D. is a native of South Georgia where he practiced law in Valdosta and Savannah for 31 years. He has served as state chairman of the Georgia Young Republicans and Chairman of the Chatham County (Savannah) Republican Party. Gary is a past GOP nominee for State Senate, past delegate to the Republican National Convention and has consulted on numerous local Republican campaigns as well as chaired or co-chaired campaigns for President and US Senate on the county and district level. He is the principal and founder of Blackstone, LLC, a corporate communications and public relations concern as well as Wiregrass Mediation Services, LLC, a general civil litigation mediation firm. 

Gary recently published his first fictional work, “How Great is His Mercy: The Plea”, on  His opinions are regularly published on

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