Sunday, April 1, 2012

Divisiveness. Us vs. Them! is pure ugliness!

This objectionable photo is making the rounds again.

I first saw this when then-Senator Obama was running for President while I was stationed in Afghanistan in 2008. It angered me then; this weekend I saw it once again on Facebook and it pisses me off just as much now as it did four years ago. It was originally used to attempt to dissuade voters for voting for "one of them."

If this photo had been taken of President Bush, he'd have been holding a coloring book (j/k). Okay, okay, cheap shot.

Seriously, I see great things in this photo.

1) The photo shows Senator (when this photo was taken) Obama reading. Think of the message this sends out to young kids! The President is a man of books, scholarly books no less!

2) He is reading a book about other cultures! I only wish earlier Presidents had done more of this, maybe then they'd have had a better understanding of the people in the Middle East--nay, the world!

Our country has a long history of supporting the "wrong people" in that region... witness this, in the 1950s through the late 70s we supported the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein in Iran and yes, the U.S. even supported Osama Bin Laden's attempts to combat Russia in Afghanistan in the late 70s, long before he turned on us. Our support for each of these men has come back to haunt our nation in countless ways in which we are still reaping the ill-effects.

3) His wedding band is clearly visible. Need I say more about that? Okay, maybe I should. I am referring to the fact that the President loves his family. He loves his wife and his two daughters! i.e., He IS a family man.

As to when I mentioned that earlier Presidents should expose themselves to other cultures either through book or more personal means, I think too many of all our politicians rely far too much on intelligence reports alone and not enough on just going out and testing the waters themselves (within the bounds of safety, of course). If we all truly were to experience the people here and abroad, I'd think we'd see that our perceived enemies are not so different than ourselves.

My comments below are aimed at no one in particular but just some thoughts and observations I have made while in Kuwait and in Afghanistan. I'm sure some of "my brothers and sisters" with whom I served have their own observations as well.

All peoples, all of them, worry about surviving one day to the next; we worry about feeding our children; worry about their future; hoping for a better day, etc.

For many cultures abroad, those people worry about from where their next meal will come.

Yes, many Americans worry about that as well, which only serves to make my point...

Many abroad worry about what disease might come along to wipe out all that they cherish; or if their own government will enslave them, or steal their children to fight their wars; and countless other things that we Americans would never ever consider or even question.

I have seen our people, leaders and civilians alike, spouting stupidity, saying other cultures place little or no value on human life. I dare anyone to go overseas, Africa or Afghanistan, or southeast Asia, for example, and talk to a parent who has watched a child die.

I posit they feel every bit the same loss we do when we lose a child.

While covering a story in Afghanistan, I personally witnessed the anguish of a father who had come to an Afghan medical clinic to see his son (a member of the Afghan National Police) who had been shot in the head by the Taliban. When told his son would never leave the clinic alive, I saw the pain as the father turned, head bowed as he walked silently away. Having a son myself, I can empathize how I would have felt. I wanted to cry for this man, so please do not tell me "they" do not value life the way we do.

Sure, it's easy to say things like that when we see someone walk into a crowd wearing a suicide vest. Sure, it's easy to point fingers and say, "see, this what the Muslim faith condones." I say hogwash! The Christian Crusades of earlier times was no less brutal and no less hateful.

I hesitate even doing the "my pain is worse than yours;" I am constantly reminded of the "people are people so why should it be that we get along so awfully (as the song says)?"

We've certainly had our own share of loonies here who have killed indiscriminately. Look at Timothy McVeigh, for example. His bomb targeted the innocent and left many a family in despair, wondering “why us? What did we do to deserve this?”

So many of us have not seen the abject poverty abroad (except perhaps those who have volunteered their time doing missionary work... or those of us servicemembers who have been stationed overseas).

I venture a guess that if our own people suffered from the same level of sadness, those who have witnessed civil war on a daily basis, the governments who have enslaved or starved their people, or those who have lived in a war zone day in and day out for year after year... witnessing pure futility. If we witnessed those kinds of horrors every day, do you really think we would act any better?

For our leaders who find it so easy to send our children into harm's way, I say that maybe they might be more hesitant to do so if they had to send their own children. In fact, I almost think it should be a prerequisite for sending others to war.

Sure, those of us who serve understand the magnitude and danger AND possible consequences of our actions. BUT tell that to a young child. Do they understand what it really means when Mommy or Daddy or their big brother or sister may not come home again? That they may never see them again. I firmly believe our leaders, Democrat and Republican alike, find it too easy to send troops overseas.

So why this lengthy commentary? If you read the original comment attached to the photo...

[THIS WILL CURDLE YOUR BLOOD AND CURL YOUR HAIR: The name of the book Obama is reading is called: The Post-American World and it was written by a fellow Muslim. "Post" America means the World After America! Please forward this picture to everyone you know, conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican. Folks we need to be aware of what our President is thinking--or planning. We must expose Obama's radical ideas and his intent to bring down our beloved America!]

One can easily see the author was attempting to divide us by trying to paint the President as "one of them." It's outrageous, it's divisive, it's racist, it's anti-religious and it is pure bigotry. And I am sick of it.

And if you aren't, why not???