Tuesday, January 18, 2011

“There he goes again.” (Ronald Reagan, speaking of Jimmy Carter)


If the shoe fits, wear it.

I don’t know whether the rest of the world understands the utter distaste many, if not most, Americans experience seeing scenes like the one above, but bowing (and scraping) is not something the citizens of this country think the President of the United States should be doing. He bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He bowed to Emperor Akihito of Japan. Now he has been caught bowing once again, this time to the leader of the People’s Republic of China. Yeah, that’s what it’s called, as though the people had anything to do with it.

“But he’s just showing respect,” some will say. I say let him show respect some other way. A firm handshake ought to be enough.

If we truly believe, as our Declaration of Independence states, that all men (yes, and women too) are created equal, there is no reason for our elected leader to appear subservient to another country’s leader.

Not to Saudi Arabia’s. Not to Japan’s. Not to China’s. Not to anyone’s.

I’m not saying we’re above them. I’m just saying we’re not below them.

From my lips to God’s ears.

8 comments:

Jinksy said...

Gosh, I hope the anonymous blogger who writes at boycottamericanwomen runs into your blog soon - I'd love to see what transpired between the two of you... LOL

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I applaud President Obama for showing the sort of humility and respect for other nations that was utterly lacking in the mental defective who was the last occupant of The Oval Office. Should President Obama meet our beloved Queen Elizabeth II again, I would expect him to lie prostrate on the floor of Buckingham Palace while Prince Philip danced a jig on his back. Furthermore, should I ever visit Canton, Georgia I would expect you to curtsey.
God Bless Barack Obama!

rhymeswithplague said...

Jinksy, I hope he doesn't.

Yorkshire , I will wear a kilt sans underpants and bow in the opposite direction. I shall ask all my neighbors to do likewise and you will think you are in a scene from Braveheart.

A Lady's Life said...

Obama has yet to find one friend who remembers him in university and he has yet to provide a proper birth certificate.
It is as if he came out of no where and no one seems to care enough to find out the truth. Maybe that's cause Presidents do not lead. So far he has done nothing but repeat what is told him to him to say. So maybe it doesn't matter who he is lol
This is scary not knowing the people you are voting for.
You jump from a pot into a frying pan.

rhymeswithplague said...

I received an email on this subject from an old cyberfriend, Bart Bull, an American from Arizona who now lives in France and calls himself Boule Bartier. I thought I would include his comments here, followed by my response:

Hey, Bob:

Looking you up this AM, I saw your post about Obama bowing. And I wanted to respond.

I think highly of you and your work, and I think you're terribly off target on this one. (Bear in mind that my own politics are often far to the left of Obama's and far to the right of his as well. I was dismayed that so many Americans seemed to consider him an instantaneous savior, while I was thrilled to see ANYBODY, including my fellow Arizonan McCain, replace President Bush.

Anyway, here's my point: I've been to Japan. And elsewhere — not everywhere, but nearly. I've been to East Texas, and West Texas, and Austin, even. And wherever I've been, there are ways of saying "Howdy!" Usually wildly different ways. And they're not always — rarely, in fact, — "Howdy!" And the quicker we learn 'em, the quicker we move to the meat of the conversation.

As an Arizonan — as recent events confirm, as do, say, our new immigration laws, our refusal to recognize MLK Day, and a thousand other things I can name — I'm all the same real sophisticated at walking into biker bars, cowboy bars, Mexican food restaurants, white Pentecostal churches, major monopoly newspaper newrooms, and such, and behaving (at least as we first say "Howdy!" or "Hey!") in a manner that will allow the people who will encounter me as a stranger to consider me polite and worthy of consideration, not a self-indulgent boor, or someone who has just invaded their space without respect. That's how we do, ya know?

As someone who for many years attended black Christian church, I often brought white friends who were intrigued but had natural trepidation. I'd always say, Look — no matter what you do (well, not no matter *what* you do.....!) you'll be treated with respect and embrace and enthusiasm. But if I can recommend something, go ahead and maybe wear a suit or at least a tie.

You'll be sending the proper signal. It will be nice. It will be gracious.

When you're in Japan, people commence bowing before you get off the plane.

Unless you're completely and absurdly recalcitrant, it's natural to start doing it yourself, even before you understand. But once you understand, you get that it's just the way. You can ignore it, just as you can, if you choose, bring a Double Whopper with fries and a strawberry milkshake and plunk yourself down in the front row of a nice quiet church on Sunday morning and commence to slurpin' and spillin' your stuff all over your cut-off t-shirt and all.... but it's probably not gonna help matters all that much. Much as I was unenthusiastic about him, I'd have presumed that Mr. Bush would have bowed as well. I don't think many great things about him, but I'd never expect less than that of him.

Best,
Bart

And here's my response:

Howdy, Bart!

Long time no see, er, hear from!

I get what you're saying about "When in Rome" and so forth (which you didn't actually say, I'm interpolating), but I think that point of view is a bit ironic
in that in this latest instance Mr. Communist China was visiting Washington, not President Obama visiting Beijing! (Just a thought, but a cogent one, n'est-ce pas?, and relevant to taking apart your argument. Much of what you say has validity, though, I'm not disputing that.)

FYI, no Bush, even one raised in Texas, has ever bowed to a leader in Japan or Saudi Arabia before, unless you count Old 41 throwing up all over that guy's shoes that time.

It was very nice to hear from you again. When I grow up, I want to write just like you.

Bob Brague

P.S. -- I have been in all those places except a major monopoly newsroom.

Tom Huguenot said...

If you want ot, I could send you a link for a picture of President Georges W Bush holding hands...with a man: the King of Saudi Arabia!

rhymeswithplague said...

Tom Huguenot, thanks, but no thanks. That image is seared into my brain. It creeped me out when I first saw it a few years back. Maybe W had a father fixation and viewed old Abdullah as an H W surrogate? Maybe that's just how friends act in Saudi Arabia? Maybe...I don't want to pursue this line of thinking further.

A Lady's Life said...

Did Michelle and Obama curtsy to the Queen of England?
Did they follow protocol or are they not familiar with the behavior required facing British Royalty?People are fighting over the wrong things.
Who cares?
I care about poverty that is attracting the building of suicide bombers in Islamic countries to pay family bills.No one cares that Islam promotes poverty and hoards money to promote more poverty world wide.Pretty soon the whole world will be poor and a few will rule and then we will have to take sides again.It all needs to stop.
Life is to be able to have freedom to enjoy the sunshine without all these head aches.