Stop Making America Sorry
– by David Matthews 2
“Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day for you to find out why I have so many.”
Leave it to the world of science fiction to say what pundits and politicians cannot. In those two sentences, Matt Smith, playing the title role in the BBC series “Doctor Who”, sums up a matter that conservatives and neo-conservatives have been whining about for years.
Almost from the day President Barack Obama took office, the conservatives and neo-conservatives have been whining about how Obama is “apologizing to the world”. Their continual complaint is that the United States shouldn’t be apologizing for anything it does, no matter what it is. So anytime there is some sort of outrage, some screw-up, some faux-pas, some scandal, some embarrassing mess that the United States gets caught up in, Obama says “We’re sorry”, and the conservatives and neo-conservatives stomp their feet and pout about it.
GOP Presidential Wannabe Mitt Romney reportedly said “We may make mistakes as a nation from time to time and step on others’ toes, and we’ll say we’re sorry for that, but apologizing for America is something I will never, ever do.” Go ahead and try to wrap your mind around that contradiction. Then get some aspirin.
This hostility to apology comes from many factors, including arrogance, narcissism, manufactured hysteria, not to mention this inherent self-serving belief that those in government not only are above reproach, but that they can do no wrong. The imperialist notion of sovereign immunity gives politicians the belief that since they can do no wrong, they have nothing to apologize for.
It’s even worse when it comes to war. Governments are quick to recite Cicero’s phrase “Silent enim leges inter arma”, or “Silent is the law amidst arms”, which loosely translates to saying there is no law as long as there is war. It puts the conservative and neo-conservative fixation to wage a “War on” everything in a new and really disturbing light.
Well since cons and neo-cons have a hard time grasping complex notions, and they prefer things to be simple enough for it to be regurgitated repeatedly on FoxNews, then the solution should be painfully simple, shouldn’t it?
Stop doing the things that make us sorry.
There! A FoxNews-simple solution! If you don’t want to have the President of the United States apologizing for anything we do, then don’t do the things that require that apology. Even the peroxide-haired Barbie-style anchors of FoxNews would be hard-pressed to find fault with that sort of solution.
And in fact it’s the same kind of FoxNews-simple solution that conservatives and neo-conservatives give to the rest of America for many other issues! Birth control? “Stop having sex.” Bad economy? “Stop buying things.” Unemployment? “Just get a job!” Simple, easy, brainless, soundbyte-ready solutions that the plastic Ken-and-Barbie anchors at FoxNews can recite over and over and over again.
So why not feed it back to the cons and neo-cons? Don’t want Obama apologizing for things? Then don’t give him a reason to. Stop doing the things that make us sorry.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, it’s not as simple as it sounds.
For instance, not too long ago the media told us that US soldiers were seen in pictures posing with dead terrorists in Afghanistan like they were out deer-hunting. The FoxNews solution, of course, is to blame the media for showing it. But that kind of fascistic response only covers up the act and delays things for a little while. If the American media didn’t report it, then the European or Arab media would have gotten wind of it. Rumors would still circulate. The Internet would eventually expose it. The truth would eventually come out.
But where did those soldiers get the idea to treat what they were doing like a deer-hunt?
Most likely it came from pictures from the 1990’s and early 2000’s of terrorists doing the same thing to American victims in places like Somalia. But we could probably also trace it back to the email messages that we circulated to our friends and co-workers after September of 2001 that said that we should treat the enemy like it was a deer-hunt. There were plenty of so-called “Terrorist Hunting Permits” that circulated the Internet. I’m sure we all had a good laugh about it then. I wonder how many of us are laughing now that we are seeing it carried out for the whole world to be disgusted at.
We claim that we’re the “better people”. We claim that our cause is “just” and that our intentions are “pure”. Well what kind of message are we sending when we’re acting no differently than the terrorists themselves? And what happens when the next batch of terrorists do the same thing to American corpses and actually reference our own previous actions as justification? No doubt we’ll deny it, which will only make our own stains that much more obvious.
That brings us to the other part of this problem; the self-righteous, self-serving hypocrisy that the cons and neo-cons eagerly engage in when it comes to apologies. Why complain about Obama apologizing for anything and then demand that he apologize for every gaffe, joke, or misstep made either by him or by anyone even remotely connected to him?
Think about it… the cons and neo-cons proclaim that Obama shouldn’t be apologizing for anything, and yet when it comes to jokes about Sarah Palin and her “As Seen On Reality TV” family, or references to Mitt Romeny’s wife, those that scream about not apologizing for anything suddenly scream even louder for that apology.
And let’s not forget that these cons and neo-cons certainly have no remorse when it comes to trashing those even within their own party’s ranks. Remember Meghan McCain? How many times did the cons and neo-cons berate the daughter of Senator John McCain for her positions? How many references were made about her weight? How many apologies were given from within the GOP?
And yet these hypocrites want an apology from Obama for what Bill Maher and Hilary Rosen say. Maher, whose only connection to Obama is the check he wrote to Obama’s Super-PAC (which according to the GOP’s own weasels is “not under the candidate’s direct control”), and Rosen, who has even less of a connection to Obama. What’s next? An apology from Obama for what Natalie Maines said about George W. Bush almost ten years ago?
Let’s get brutally honest here... this one-sided demand for an apology and then hypocritically complaining about apologies not only does their own cause a disservice, but it makes the United States look petty and dangerously narcissistic.
Bear in mind that this comes from a practical libertarian who is more than just mildly disgusted by the belligerence of the conservatives and with the spineless cowardice of the liberals. They have stopped acting like they’re political factions and act more like wife-beaters and their facilitating spouses. The only things missing are the torn tee-shirts and the beer cans.
Again, I’ll make this FoxNews-simple: if you don’t want the President of the United States to be in a position to apologize for anything, then don’t do the things that would make America sorry. Don’t encourage others to do the things that would make America sorry. And don’t demand others do what you refuse to do yourself. If you want to adhere to Sarah Palin’s motto of “Don’t retreat, reload” when it comes to hurling insults, then don’t demand or expect any kind of apology when they are hurled back.
And if that is still too much for the FoxNews-simplistic minds, then I hope you’re willing to trade in your rapier wit for actual rapiers. Because when you try to impose your dysfunctional and clearly hypocritical rules over others, you not only prove that you’re far from being “good”, but you also guarantee that at some point the others will also be far from “good”. When that happens, you won’t have to worry about having to say “sorry”. Then we will all just be sorry.