“The right side of history.” It’s one of those tired lines that politicians have used for years. Indeed, it’s one that President Obama has used on several occasions, including his speech Tuesday before the United Nations General Assembly.
Who are we to believe that today’s challenges cannot be overcome, when we’ve seen what changes the human spirit can bring? Who in this hall can argue that the future belongs to those who seek to repress that spirit rather than those who seek to liberate it? I know what side of history I want the United States of America to be on.
But who else is on the right side of history, according to President Obama?
During a press conference at the White House on June 23, 2009, the president addressed the protests and political activism seen in Iran at the time:
Above all, we’ve seen courageous women stand up to the brutality and threats, and we’ve experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets. While this loss is raw and extraordinarily painful, we also know this: Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.
Another person on the “right side of history” is apparently Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. After a new book revealed that Reid called Obama a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to” during the 2008 campaign, the president stood by his former Senate colleague in a Jan. 10, 2010 television interview:
This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history.
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the political turnover in Egypt and Tunisia, the president called for caution during a March 3, 2011 press conference:
And I think that the region we’ll be watching carefully to make sure we’re on the right side of history but also that we are doing so as a member of the world community, and being willing to act on behalf of these values but doing so in a way that takes all the various equities into account.
Obama continued his defense of the uprising in Egypt during a Feb. 14, 2011 press conference at the White House:
Well, first of all, without revisiting all the events over the last three weeks, I think history will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in Egypt that we were on the right side of history.
At a Democratic National Committee event in Chicago on April 14, 2011, he used the line once more to tout his foreign policy record:
Now, part of the hopefulness and the anticipation we all felt that night in Grant Park was also about what we could do to secure and restore America’s standing in the world. So that’s why we strengthened our alliances. We signed historic arms-control agreements, secured loose nuclear materials. That’s why we’re on the right side of history now throughout the Middle East, because we believe in preventing innocents from getting slaughtered, and we believe in human rights for all people.
In his debate with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Oct. 22, 2012, Obama defended his foreign policy record and trips abroad:
And they can look at my track record — whether it’s Iran sanctions, whether it’s dealing with counterterrorism, whether it’s supporting democracy, whether it’s supporting women’s rights, whether it’s supporting religious minorities — and they can say that the president of the United States and the United States of America has stood on the right side of history. And — and that kind of credibility is precisely why we’ve been able to show leadership on a wide range of issues facing the world right now.
When meeting with Democratic lawmakers on July 31, the president, according to Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., told members:
As we all go back to our districts in August that we are on the right side of these issues and the right side of history in terms of providing health care to Americans and to ultimately finding comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing for the country to do at this time.
So, according to the president, his foreign policy record, Harry Reid, and Obamacare are all on the right side of history. We’ll see if the history books agree.