Tag Archives: Obama

Obsession of the Week: Time Magazine; May 20, 2011 Issue

While I didn’t cheer Osama’s death or feel instant satisfaction that this country was on the right course again (“It’s the economy stupid”), this week’s issue of Time magazine had some incredible noteworthy articles in it. The magazine challenged its writers to reflect not just on the news of the day, but on the past decade that began the Bush described “War on Terror.” What transpires in the magazine is some brilliant reporting and fascinating analysis on our modern world. Two articles stand out for me in particular; “When Terror Loses Its Grip” by Fareer Zakaria and Nancy Gibb’s “Second Thoughts” piece entitled “Where Victory Lies.”

Gibb’s piece really brings home the sense ofAmerica’s naiveté prior to 9/11, as she relays a story about her own 7 and 4-year-old daughters on that historic day nearly ten years ago. On 9/11, Gibb was in the car listening to a “safe and sunny” oldies station when the music broadcast was interrupted with news of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center. To which Gibb’s 4-year-old commented on  how the men flying the planes should have been more careful. Gibb’s 7-year-oldquickly instructed her younger sister that it was no accident and that those men meant to knock down the buildings. Gibbs writes:

 “And I wondered. When was it, somewhere along the way, that she had discovered the presence of evil in the world? At 4, it was unthinkable. By 7, it was undeniable. She did not need fairy tales; she knew what evil looked like, smelled like, and I wondered exactly how and when that had happened – and whether it happened sooner for children like her, born into peace and prosperity and then baptized on a beautiful fall day by cataclysm.”

Writing doesn’t get any better than that – period. Gibbs opens her piece with this emotionally real-life metaphor for what the entire country was feeling that day ten years ago. She goes on to state that for all the terrorists’ efforts, we as Americans, at our heart, have been  left mostly unchanged. It’s a gleaming piece about how the terrorists attempted to change our will and didn’t. The article ends with this passage:

“We didn’t seal our borders; immigration actually rose. We still fly, and with e-tickets no less. We’re a more vigilant society but just as rambunctious. We argue with each other, join the Marine Corps and the Peace Corps. And across the world, all through the Middle East, we watch the kids Bin Laden hoped would be his foot soldiers choose peaceful change instead. Our kids learned early about evil. But they grew up learning how it is fought.”

Zakaria’s piece, very  unlike Gibbs take a more in-depth look at what is going on in the Middle East right now and how Bin Laden’s death doesn’t really mean that much to a region who has long since moved on from what he was selling. Zakaria, who famously wrote after 9/11 the article “Why They Hate Us,” paints a remarkable and insightful picture of how the Middle East is changing right in front of us. He writes about how the central issue in the region has been the “stagnation and repression of the Arab world – 40 years of tyranny and decay” which led to the extremists movements of Al-Qaeda and how their venom really had little to do with us directly (Look out – the same thing is happening in most African nations as we breathe).

Zakaria stipulates that these movements only found their grounding in mosques because religion was the only thing dictators couldn’t ban. It was the one place people weren’t censored and thus opposition was born within the walls of the mosques. American became the enemy only because we propped up and sent aid to the oppressive dictators the people hated (think Iraq,Egypt,Saudi Arabia and Pakistan). “Al-Qaeda is a Saudi-Egyptian alliance that was formed to topple the Saudi and Egyptian regimes and others like them.” Their interests weren’t against America but America’s support for the oppression against them.

 Zakaria also details how the “Arab Spring” has shattered what Al-Qaeda hopped to achieve. He even goes as far as to say the nation-building that George W. Bush preached about in Iraq had a direct effect in bringing about the “Arab Spring” of rebellions. People got a taste for freedom in the region and wanted it for themselves.

 The article has some great insight  and paints both the Obama and Bush administrations as having a profound effect on what is happening today in the Middle East and how Al-Qaeda as a global threat has been greatly diminished.

These two articles alone are worthy of the newsstand price. Run out and get a copy. There’s some really great award-worthy journalism between the covers. And, of course, the cover itself is a keepsake. Good stuff! 

Is the U.S. a Democracy Hypocrite?

As the protests turn violent today, the question of the United States not actively supporting democracy in Egypt seems hypocritical. Supporting dictators never seems to be in the best interest of the United States. Whether its support for the Shah of Iran, Saddam in Iraq, or now the Egyptian president, when will the U.S. learn that when we don’t support and push for democracy, we end up the villain.

I’ve written a two-part article today for Examiner.com where I talk about how hypocritical it is for the U.S. to sit by and wait for an outcome in Egypt. Read today’s article and let me know what you think.

Click here to read \”Is the U.S. a Democracy Hypocrite?\”

Obsession of the Week: “God in American” on PBS

Without a doubt, this six-part series is the authority when it comes to religion and America. No matter your religious preference, it’s something you should watch to get a better understanding of how religion and the freedom of religion in this country has developed and continues to unfold.

It touches upon America from the first European settlers, Thomas Jefferson and the separation of church & state all the way to present day issues with regards to Atheists and Muslims. I found the material on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War most interesting. Actually, all six parts are chock-full of great information and insight. If you are interested at all in American history and religion, you have to see this series.

The series is available online at pbs.org (click here for the link) and has been rebroadcast over the past couple of months so look for it. Take a look at this extended preview.


 

A Memorable Speech on this Election Day

It’s finally here – election day. We can finally say good-bye to all the political ads, mailers and robo-calls. In a week in which the President of all people called Republicans the “enemy,” I thought this excerpt from a Presidential inaugural speech speaks to the events of this day.

We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile…This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.

In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side or the other, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people…While the people retain their virtue and vigilance no Administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years…Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land are still competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficulty.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue…The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.”

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Abraham Lincoln, 1861, from his first inaugural address to the nation. Beneath an unfinished Capital dome, Lincoln spoke before a divided nation and asked for civility.  While our nation remains divided, we must not give into the worst of ourselves and create further divisiveness. Today, you can go and make your voice heard. Nothing gets better from inaction. You can make a difference.

First National Article Posted: “America’s New Reality; Rich Get Richer & Middle-Class Become the Poor!

My first national article for Examiner finally posted. It’s been a trying week and feels like a whole new ball game. The national competition for readers is fierce. My article is buried on the national website but that was to be expected. And, truthfully, it’s not my favorite piece  but there are more hoops to jump through to get the first piece approved. Getting this one up actually took so much longer than I expected that I feel like I missed some good opportunity for other stories this week. We’ll see what next week brings. Click the link below to read it. BTW – it looks like they stretched my photo to fit the space. LOL…I really didn’t need my face to be stretched. You can see the different between my Inland Empire profile picture and the national one. There’s both the same photo.

Click Here for National Examiner Article

Examiner Article: Is Obama’s Faith the Cause for Mosque Protests?

Today’s Examiner.com article asks the question about whether Obama’s faith (or questions about his faith) are at the center of the protests nationwide over the building of mosques. I take a look at the speech JFK gave 50 years ago this week about his faith and compare it to where we are at 50 years latter.

Here’s the link to the article – click over and take a look: Examiner article on the Importance of Presidential Faith