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Thursday, August 06, 2009

The perfect President for a nation without values

I've already done a number of posts about the Obama administration's selection of Mary Robinson to receive the medal of freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor. A lot of people assume that Robinson's selection was another foul-up by the White House. They assume that she wasn't vetted properly. Alternatively, people assume that Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod - the two people most responsible for checking her out - didn't think her record of support for terrorism mattered, but they don't place the blame on Obama himself. The strongest accusation I saw against Obama was that he is a racial opportunist, but that accusation was prompted by 'Gatesgate' and not by Mary Robinson.

President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said "The buck stops here." Ultimately, Barack Obama is responsible for Mary Robinson's selection, and that selection says a lot about how Barack Obama relates to Jews and to Israel.
In Simon and Garfunkel’s legendary hit song “Mrs. Robinson,” there is a mysterious line that has puzzled many of the duo’s fans: “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio/A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” In an interview with with SongTalk magazine (1990), Paul Simon explained that this was the first line he had jotted down but confessed, “I don’t know why or where it came from.” It seems rather obvious, however, that Simon was playing with the notion of the American Hero, someone who represents and fulfills the country’s quest for greatness. Things are somewhat different now. Joe DiMaggio is no longer with us but Barack Obama has stepped up to the plate, basking in the glory of his presence and ostensible prowess as a nation turns its lonely eyes to him.

Obama, regrettably, is less like Joe DiMaggio and more like the Mighty Casey in Ernest Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat” (subtitled “A Battle Hymn of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888”). Casey, who represents the winning run for the Mudville Nine, advanc[es] to the bat” in all his “haughty grandeur” and inevitably strikes out. Perhaps “somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,” the last stanza begins, and ends: “But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.”

The Mighty Barack has swung at air more than once in his brief, much-publicized career, but conferring the Medal of Freedom on Mary Robinson should send him back to the dugout in disgrace. In his forthcoming book Tolerism, Canadian author Howard Rotberg argues that the actual presentation of the Medal “may seem to be relatively unimportant,” but its historical significance is not. It is, he argues, indicative of something much more ominous, “the transition of the United States from being the leader of the free world and (on balance) a force for justice and freedom in the world to becoming a European-like rationalizer of injustice…” And he goes even further: “The giving of an honor to the woman who most epitomizes the evil of the Durban conference…could unfortunately symbolize a turning point in American and world history.”

Is Rotberg over-reacting? From the Jewish and Israeli perspective, certainly not, for the Robinson travesty is only one in a long line of actions signalling that Obama is “re-setting” the traditional U.S./Israel relationship in ways that do not augur well for the Jewish state. But Rotberg’s argument encompasses the larger context of the era in which we are now living—an era which has seen the corruption of the Academy, the “adoption of the post-modern concept of cultural relativism,” the emergence of identity politics, the appeasement of autocratic regimes and the attendant deprivileging of the idea of universal rights. “Obama,” he writes “is the perfect president for a nation without values.”
A nation without values. What an insult! It reminds me of some of the things that I wrote about Kadima when that party was in power in Israel. But unfortunately, it's true. It's not that Americans don't have values. It's that Barack Obama has abandoned America's values and replaced them with pandering to dictators - especially Muslim dictators - worldwide. He has abandoned America's traditional belief in its own excellence and has substituted cultural relativism. He has abandoned America's belief in democracy and freedom and he has substituted moral relativism.

I moved to Israel 18 years ago this month. I moved because I believe that Judaism requires me to make the effort to live in Israel and to live here so long as I am able to do so. I also moved here because the Jewish education here is far beyond what it is everyplace else in the world. I didn't leave America because I was unhappy with it. I still love America. And I can only weep at what has happened to it in the last six months.

So as not to end this post on such a sad note, here's a classic Simon and Garfunkel song: Mrs. Robinson.

As for the disreputable Mary Robinson, for whom none of this matters and who is indeed an international contributor to the collapse of sustaining values in the Western world, she must be tickled pink with Obama’s “And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson.” But for the rest of us, whether we know it or not, the Simon and Garfunkel song puts it clearly: “Ev’ry way you look at it, you lose.”
Read the whole thing.


At 10:05 PM, Blogger Ann Tendler said...

Why should this surprise anyone? Obama is consistant in his choices and values. He is an anti-semite. People just don't want to see what is in front of their eyes.


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