“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.” Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City
This past week the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, made some incendiary remarks about President Obama. Political pundits from both sides of the spectrum now have another dead horse they can beat during the weekend “news” shows. I guess for some it is easier to discuss the foibles of a public figure than to discuss the complexities of the stories of greater importance to our country.
These types of barbs are neither new, nor worthy of prolonged public discussion. Incendiary comments, whether real or imagined, serve to fire up the “hardcore” political operatives across the ideological gamut, many whom have said far worse. For a brief moment, anybody who wants to, gets to play Lucy Van Pelt and demonstrate the 5-cent brand of psychological analysis that will not help America any more than it helped Charlie Brown. There is a lesson to be learned from what Giuliani said, but what is that lesson?
In 2008, then candidate Barack Obama made the following statement about President Bush: “The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents, number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back – $30,000 for every man, woman and child…. It’s unpatriotic.” Aside from the fact that President Obama has now committed this country to a more reckless fiscal obligation, how is what candidate Obama said about then President Bush any less incendiary?
To question a person’s love for our country is to question their patriotism. Love of country and patriotism is a very personal matter, one that reaches the very foundation of a person’s character. There can be no doubt that both President Obama and President Bush are two completely different people. Both men have their critics. Normal, everyday people go rabid at the mere mention of either president. Both men have been vilified and branded many things they are not, but neither man’s love for this country should be called into question.
I have been very critical of Obama and his administration, and so long as he continues to govern in the manner I oppose, I will continue to be critical. I know many of Obama’s policies have been poorly planned and even more poorly executed. There have been times when I have observed Obama to be less than honest. Obama, as with his supporters, sees America much differently than many other Americans do. As such, his policies are designed to address the issues Obama feels are in the best interests of our country. Obama is wrong, but that in no way means he does not love this country. I believe Obama cares deeply for this country, and is sincere in his empathy for those in need.
Giuliani was correct that by all accounts, Obama was “brought up” differently than many Americans, which plays into how both men see our country and the world. Giuliani was wrong when he stated Obama does not love America. Likewise, Obama was wrong when he stated Bush was “unpatriotic.” Both men join the long list of stupid statements made by politicians, many that have been lost to history.
One of the greatest pieces of advice my mother imparted on me was “to bite your bottom lip before you speak” if you disagree with a statement made by someone else. My mother explained it would allow me time to collect my thoughts before I said something stupid, and to remind me of the pain that would follow if I did say something stupid. I wish both Giuliani and Obama had met my mother, but I hope other public figures heed her wisdom.
I have made it no secret that I believe much of the modern day news cycle is nothing more than the extension of our culture’s disinterest in the matters of intellectual curiosity. Many in our nation (honestly across the globe) lack the cerebral fortitude to stay engaged in matters of true importance beyond the next piano playing cat video. We would be better served if public figures would stop saying stupid things. Absent of that, we would also be better served not to fall into the trap of believing the haphazard utterances by some is worthy of our attention.