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My daughter asked me last weekend, “Don’t you think {President} Obama should go to Ferguson?”

I immediately said, “No. I don’t think he should.” And I talked briefly about the issue of local and state control. Although there was increasing tension and violence (on both sides), I didn’t believe it was the President’s role to go to the scene of the turmoil in that city.

But I also felt that Pres. Obama could not go, even if he wanted to.

For a variety of reasons, he has become a polarizing figure in our country. (See Why Obama Won’t Give the Ferguson Speech His Supporters Want).

A number of years ago, perhaps it was in early 2007, I was spending a good deal of time in Orlando, FL, visiting my aging parents. In the evenings, after they had gone to sleep, I turned on the radio and was stunned to hear what was being said about Hilliary Clinton, then the leading Democratic candidate for the Presidency (Sen. Obama was not yet an announced candidate).

Both the talk show hosts and the callers seemed to me to be salivating at the thought of having Hilliary Clinton as the Democratic opponent to a Republican candidate. It is not an exaggeration to say that what I heard was “vile.” After listening for a few evenings, I felt sick by what I was hearing and stopped tuning into those stations.

When Obama announced his candidacy and began to challenge Clinton, I was intrigued. Tho I knew he hadn’t had the experience that Clinton had, I felt he was a fresh face and could possibly be a less polarizing candidate.

When Candidate Obama gave his ‘race’ speech in Philadelphia in 2008, A More Perfect Union, I was convinced he was the best shot we had as a country to move beyond our racial divide. After all, he was very different than a Jesse Jackson and had spent much of his life walking that thin line between a white and a black world. (You can read the full text of his speech or you can watch a video of it, 37+ minutes.)

How naive I was.

Now, six over seven years later, even if it was determined that a President’s presence in Ferguson was called for, Pres. Obama could not go. He is simply too polarizing and likely would only add to the tension and to the crisis. Not calm nor help it.

And so the question I’ve been wondering about, not only since Ferguson but for quite a while now is this:

Why has President Obama become such a polarizing figure?

A number of possible answers come to mind for me, but I would be interested in what readers of this website would say about that question.

As always, if you weigh in, and I hope you will, please keep your responses civil, no matter how strongly you may feel about this President, this Presidency, or what is happening in our country.

My hope is that we can have a thoughtful conversation in the Comment section of this post.