ALLAN JEFFERYS: Sometimes You Just Need a Two-by-Four
Many readers' comments make me realize there are usually two sides to an idea. For your reminders, I give thanks.
One reader recently e-mailed: "I have become more and more concerned about the tone of the rhetoric in the letters to the Pilot. Anger is contagious, and it encourages impulsive and sometimes violent actions. Every time I put down The Pilot these days, I feel contaminated by the anger. You have been calling for some moderation. I think you could help the public discourse by saying something about the role we play in inciting violence."
Another chastised me: "Every article of yours that I have seen puts down our president in one way or another. Do you really think we would be better off if we still had (obscene name for Bush) and Darth Vader? Or would you rather have Caribou Barbie?"
A third stated, "(Obama) has more of a mess dropped in his lap than any other president I can think of and is just trying to juggle all those balls at once."
I can see the reasoning behind each statement, but each also cries out for rebuttal. Taking the last first, I would certainly consider the mess in Obama's lap less troublesome than what Harry Truman had to contend with when FDR died. And Ronald Reagan followed a Jimmy Carter debacle.
We may never know whether the actions of Bush and Cheney prevented another 9-11 or not. The Iraq war may have been a mistake. History will have its say in the matter, but this generation cannot know for certain.
The second reader did not give me much choice. My response to him stated that there were far more qualified leaders out there than either Obama or Bush. I hold both parties responsible for offering us poor choices.
I did point out that Obama could be justifiably reprehended for bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia, kissing Hugo Chavez, giving away billions to AIG with no pre-conditions, insulting everyone who has ever loved a Special Olympian, doubling our national debt, backing down on our space defense system the day after North Korea launched an ICBM, appointing five cabinet members who cheated on the taxes The list goes on and on.
Which brings us to the first complaint. Any rational person would prefer that all opposing commentary be couched in civil courtesy. I agree that many letters-to-the-editor border on being vicious and that some TV types are guilty of pure rant. However, like the old joke about hitting a mule with a two-by-four, sometimes you have to get rough just to get attention. Sometimes a calm rebuff works--too often, it doesn't.
There has not been any generation that has not had some advocate of appeasement. President Obama is hardly the first. But appeasement is not necessary with reasonable people; it just does not work with maniacs and insane bullies who manage to take over nations. For them, the two-by-four is the only approach.
Ideally, we should all stand behind our president and hold critical comments to a mild minimum at least for the first year. That was certainly my intention after his election. He has much to offer: He is handsome, speaks well, is obviously highly intelligent and has a near-perfect family. He thus makes a fine standard-bearer.
But he has never served in the military, has never run even a small business, and has limited governmental experience. He is, hence, hardly qualified to be a commander-in-chief or a leader of the free world. Despite these deficiencies, he has plunged ahead full tilt on a path that could well lead to catastrophic consequences for our beloved country. It is a classic example of too much, too soon, too fast. It is therefore not conservatism that causes me to write against him; it is fear.
Today is Flag Day. Fly it proudly.
Allan Jefferys, a former New York theater critic, entertainment editor and newsman, lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at email@example.com.
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