Thursday, July 16, 2009

American Hegemony

Former Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean remarked in 2003's New Hampshire primary, that America "should be planning for a time when it is not the world's greatest superpower : 'We have to take a different approach [to diplomacy]. We won't always have the strongest military.' "

I was remined of that famous quote the moment I watched this ominous scene:

For all his faults, and despite all the disagreements I have with his policies, I don't get any pleasure out of seeing this done to the President of the United States. It's a sight to sadden the soul. All America is being humiliated in this video, not just its President.

The genius of the American system of government is that it perceived the truth about the people it governs: that Man is a fallen being, with a capacity for evil, and certainly a propensity for error. The checks and balances, the struggle that is involved in getting anything done, is meant to test ideas and the mettle of the mind's they spring from. The notion that Man can become so wise as to not need advice, as to not benefit from the judgment that comes with scrutiny, must surely, almost by definition, be un-American.

Yet when balance and judgment and humility were most needed, where were they? How to keep faith in democracy if its implementation seems to weaken the very system it's meant to uphold? How to keep faith in America?

Why are these modern-day commissars not shaking the democratically-elected President's hand as he moves down this line-up? Are they not supposed to, according to the protocol of the event? If not, why doesn't President Obama know that? If they are deliberately snubbing him, why do they think they can get away with that? What faith do they have in America, and in Americans?

God help the Republic.


Anonymous said...

He's not being snubbed, he's introducing his staff to the Russian president.

His hand is palm up.

Dag said...

If he's introducing his staff to the Russians, then why is his zipper still done up?

Look, if you're going to leave a comment, at least try to make it vaguely intelligent.

Charles Henry said...

No, anon is right, Dag. I am in the wrong here.

I've just looked into the story in more detail, as I should have done from the first; once you see the scene staged from a different angle, then look at this video again, it's almost impossible to see it as the President being stiffed, which is what it appeared to me to be the first time I watched it.

Maybe he expected his first aide to shake both of their hands, but as anon says, certainly by the end he's only gesturing towards the line-up.

I have rarely been so glad to be so wrong about something in all my life..! I think my sigh of relief probably flattened the birch tree outside.

Learning the truth turned out to be a pretty humbling experience, and obviously a necessary reminder, for me, not to take things at face value and merely jump to conclusions. As the old expression has it, "there's often more than first meets the eye". Clearly I've got to do a better job remembering that adage, and living up to its wisdom.

I'm very grateful to our anonymous commentor to have taken the time to correct the record for me.

Dag said...

I'll go with you on this one, Charles, especially since my video capacity is non-existent; but I don't move from my position that I can't stand those who forever and a day make in a life's work to spin for Obama or anyone or anything else. This piece looked to be, and to me still looks like, an effort on the part of a full-time flack. That's where I object. I won't allow that kind of thing to pass for Obama nor for Sarah Palin, nor for myself.

Given that it looks to me even now like a case of spin, which you point out is wrong, it still says much that most of us are accustomed to lies.