Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Tears And Flapdoodle–Obama, Putin, And Unacceptable Displays Of Emotion
President Obama cried last night when he addressed the nation about the epidemic of gun violence in the country. Speaking from the heart and as a mixed-race man, he was emotionally moved about the thousands of black children who are killed every year by handguns.
Most observers gave him the benefit of the doubt – black, progressive, and frustrated after seven years of trying to influence the country and the Congress to mend their ways. His address echoed Rodney King but was naïve, ingenuous, and pitiful.
Why pitiful? Because the leader of the free world becoming less free; the champion of liberal democracy losing ground quickly and surely to the forces of darkness; and the sovereign to whom all nations look for leadership in trouble times, is shedding tears over an issue which has far more local resonance than geopolitical importance. We should not feel good about such public displays of emotion, let alone from the President of the United States.
It is important to remember that Saudi Arabia just beheaded two dozen radical opponents to the monarchy without a second thought; that Vladimir Putin rolled his tanks into Crimea and the Ukraine and established Russian hegemony, fulfilling a centuries-old imperative; that ISIS, in pursuit of its goal of establishing a Muslim Caliphate throughout the Middle East has beheaded, eviscerated, raped, and intimidated in the name of victory; and that hard-minded regimes in North Korea and Iran have redoubled their efforts for nuclear supremacy and world influence
Black Lives Matter’, and indeed they do; and the President is right to be distressed about young lives wasted. Yet, despite his rigorous academic training (legal scholars are all about the facts and judicial precedent) and obvious intelligence, he allows himself to show weakness, emotion, and a soft heart.
He should have said that the urban ghetto is a dysfunctional place – an abnormality in middle-class America – which, unless it quickly rejects entitlement and well-meaning but ignorant paternalism, will descend into even more chaos until it destroys itself. He should have said that the mentally ill account for most of the serial shootings in American, and unless they are identified, tracked, and institutionalized, they will continue to wreak havoc on unsuspecting, innocent, schools and churches. He should have condemned the culture of contentiousness, intolerance, and me-too self-centered egoism.
Instead he cried about guns and over the loss of innocent life, and finally and unequivocally showed himself to be the weak, impossibly naïve, and out-of-his-depth leader that he is.
He cried at the worst possible moment. The Middle East is in flames. Western Europe is besieged by migrants who threaten to upset the historical secular balance of the region. Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China are ascendant. They have rejected American exceptionalism and liberal democracy, and Obama and his mates are flummoxed and as stunned as a deer in headlights.
Tears are natural, normal, and human; but more than anything they are political. Women have learned over the centuries to turn on the spigots at just the right moment to gain sympathy. Men notoriously cannot seem to resist the blubbering of a woman, and women who historically have had few other arrows in their quiver, pull out the tears at just the right moments.
Children’s tears get concern and affection. Tears at weddings are expected, uninspired, temporal, and affectively proper. Tears at funerals are largely genuine, discounted by ethnicity. Italian Americans tend to wailing and histrionics when the Irish drink and are merry.
In short, tears are as relative as anything else. Words of sympathy or solidarity are well-meaning but also self-serving. Acts of kindness and charity usually are intended to shed more warm light on the giver than the receiver. They mean nothing per se, but are as important as semiotic signifiers as any human gesture.
You can be sure that Vladimir Putin watched President Obama cry with glee. He always knew it – a wuss, a pansy, and weak sister, and an opponent who could be rolled over or knocked out in the first round. As a matter of fact, Obama doesn’t even belong in the same ring as Putin.
It is, of course, an election year in the United States; and Obama’s tears will most definitely help the Democrats who have always run as the party which cares. his emotional response will certainly help to shore up with an extra dollop of kindness to the tough-as-nails Hillary Clinton. Ordinarily a woman would have the tear-and-compassion routine sewn up; but not this time around.
No difference could be more stark than the weeping Obama and the Ubermensch Trump. The last thing The Donald would ever do is cry over anything. The world is as it is – harsh, brutal, short, and nasty – and only through Nietzschean will and powerful individual expression, can anyone prevail.
Genghis Khan shed no tears, nor did Stalin or Pol Pot. For better or for worse these men were powerful leaders who had absolute, unshakeable confidence in their destiny; and nothing would stand in their way. The route to the East followed by Genghis Khan and his armies was lined with decapitated heads impaled on stakes. Even modern day Harry Truman had no compunctions about incinerating hundreds of thousands of Japanese to assure victory.
The world has become a gentler, more tolerant, and more forgiving place argue American progressives; but only a glance at recent history shows that if anything it has become even more barbaric. There were no tears shed in Genghis Khan’s day; and there shouldn’t be now.
But there are, and unhappily running down the cheeks of our Commander in Chief; and chiefs of state from Southeast Asia to the North Sea are licking their chops and saying, “See, I told you so.”
Granted that in our feminized society men are supposed to share their feelings, show their feminine side and reject the ignorant testosterone-driven side. Civilization’s greatest work of art, dance, and music have resulted from subtle insight, love, and paying attention. No one ever expected Tamburlaine or Rob Roy to play the gilded flute.
Men, however, will never change. The testosterone will continue to course through our veins. We will be quick to anger, piss on our enemies, to establish dominance, and to expand and hold new territories. Men have established cultural, emotional, and political hegemony by not crying; by never even intimating weakness; and by never, ever showing feelings.
Obama has broken all the rules; and although progressive American women are happy, the men in power in ISIS, Turkey, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and just about everywhere else are cheering. A wuss in the White House. We always knew it.
Poor Obama. He has been overmatched from the start, and it is too late to do much about it. Yet, in a major address to the American public – a citizenry desperately afraid of Islamic terrorism, sectarian chaos, and the rise of super-enemies Russia and China – our President gives us tears over regrettable but predictable and inevitable loss.
This is the same President who is afraid of bombing ISIS positions for fear of civilian casualties; who hesitates to send troops in harm’s way; and to declare a no-holds-barred victory over anti-liberal forces unleashed in the world.
Tears, civilian casualty avoidance, hearts-and-minds, and idealistic diplomacy all fit together. Tears over black boys’ lives indicates frustration, weakness, and inability to act. None of this is good for a President for whom foreign affairs must be the be-all and end-all of modern geopolitical life.
It is time for Mr. Obama to go, to retire, and let someone else do the heavy lifting.