There are some things I have a hard time imagining. Barack Obama standing tall in the face of tyranny is one of them. I can’t imagine, for example, a President Obama, during the Cold War, forcefully telling the leader of the Soviet Union, to “Tear down this wall.”
Ronald Reagan was an old-fashioned meat and potatoes man. Barack Obama is more of the risotto with green apple kind. In other words, he’s a metrosexual.
I don’t know a lot of metrosexuals up close and personal, but I’ve always had the impression that they’re not the kind of guys you want to be in a foxhole with when the going gets rough – unless, of course, you’re being attacked by a dry scalp.
Metrosexuals aren’t embarrassed when they say the word “Twitter.” Or “Wikileaks.” These are girly words, of course, but metrosexuals are girly men so, hey, no harm no foul.
Metrosexuals will throw their own mother under the bus if there’s something in it for them. No, not because they care more about moisturizers than mom. They’d do it because they’re New Men. They’re men who worship themselves. They’re men who care about nothing more in the whole wide world than their own success.
Now, in fairness, I’m not saying Barack Obama would have ever thrown his own beloved mother under the bus. But he did toss grandma under the wheels when she got in the way. Remember when his campaign was in trouble because of his old friend and spiritual mentor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright? That’s when Obama went on national television and told the American people that he could “no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother.”
But why would we even think of disowning grandma? Because, like Wright, she was also something of a bigot, he seemed to be telling us. She was “a typical white person” who had “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.” You know, “a typical white person.”
This is what the shrinks call passive-aggressive. I love my grandmother. I could never disown her – even though, like “typical” white people, she was a bigot.
And even though he could never “disown” the Reverend Wright, either, Obama did just that when his pastor of 20 years became a liability (after those tapes came out showing Wright to be a raving racist). When you’re under the bus, Rev, say hi to grandma.
But that’s old news. Now we have some new news. President Obama, for the first time, has jumped into the long-simmering controversy over whether Muslims should build a mosque near Ground Zero. Well, jumping in may not be the right choice of words. Pussy-footing in is more like it.
At a White House dinner marking the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, the president said, “As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”
Pretty gutsy, huh, given that most Americans are against the mosque being built just two blocks from where the World Trade Center Towers once stood. Except the very next day, the president “clarified” his position. “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there.”
This raises a question: Why not? Why do nothing more than acknowledge the obvious: that everyone in this country has the right to practice his religion. Every kid in middle school knows that.
A man who doesn’t have the moral clarity to take a stand – one way or the other — on the mosque controversy could never have told Mr. Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall.” Or for that matter, won’t be able to stand up to the Iranians — either before or after they develop a nuclear weapon.
Why couldn’t the president have said something along the lines of what an old-fashioned guy like Congressman Peter King said: “While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque, they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much. The right and moral thing for President Obama to have done was to urge Muslim leaders to respect the families of those who died and move their mosque away from Ground Zero. Unfortunately, the president caved into political correctness.”
But expecting the president to say something like that may be asking too much of a man who orders arugula salad in Iowa. After all, here we have a president who apologizes with ease for America’s supposed misdeeds, on foreign soil no less. But to speak with moral certainty to Muslims is another matter.
But imagine if the president had said, “Imam, you say you want to build a mosque near Ground Zero in order to foster better relations with non-Muslims – and I congratulate you for that. Now, may I suggest you speak to your fellow Muslims and tell them to foster better relations with the United States. Tell your fellow Muslims in places like Saudi Arabia to allow Christians to build churches in that country. Tell Muslims in that part of the world to stop teaching their children that Jews are dirty animals. Acknowledge, for the first time, that Hamas is a terrorist organization whose mission is to destroy Israel. When you do that, Imam, then – and only then – can we start a conversation about your mosque near Ground Zero.”
That kind of conversation is another thing I have a hard time imagining.
Copyright © 2013 BernardGoldberg.com