October 31, 2019 - 7:00am

Obama’s got a message for the kids: quit being so judgy. This is basically what he had to say to those assembled at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. He called out call-out culture as non productive, and for a man with a legacy of compromise and negotiation, it’s easy to see why the practice of pointing figures at everyone else’s ideological flaws would rankle.

Sitting with a classmate of his daughter’s, on a stage before supporters, he noted that what’s happening today on college campuses as well as in discourse is not actually helping anything. He said that the mindset that has young people thinking “the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people,” doesn’t actually change anything, but instead entrenches a mindset that is antithetical to getting any real work done.

For sure he’s not wrong. Cancel culture, call-out culture, #MeToo, the oppression Olympics, and trauma porn all contribute to a social atmosphere where one is afraid to say anything lest they offend someone else, or even worse, get publicly ‘drawn and quartered’ for having done so. It’s a tenuous time, where those on social media seem to lie in wait, ready to mob not only every mansplainer, but those whose wokeness isn’t caffeinated enough.

But Obama’s detractors would say that this in itself is virtue-signalling from the man who spent two terms in office acknowledging his allegiance to leftist ideas, while telling the right that he was open to working with them. To those conservatives who have opposed him, this mantra of civility smacks of disingenuity. One can almost see the smoke from their collective heads exploding on Twitter.

Probably no one is happy with Obama’s friendly reminder that we don’t have to all hate each other, that our foes love their kids too and probably don’t actually kick their dogs. But really it would do well for all of those who enjoy placing blame everywhere but themselves to take heed.

Libby Emmons is a writer, award-winning playwright and co-founder of Blue Box Productions, based in Brooklyn.