Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Whole Hand Over His Heart Debacle:

by Glenn Littrell

In response to a comment on a FaceBook post(from 2010):

In regards to President Obama putting his hand over his heart ‘all the time’, I too wish he would. Everyone should do so for a variety of reasons, but to not do so on occasion is neither criminal or proof of a lack of respect for this country. If it is then there is a lot of disrespect going around all over this country at sporting events, public meetings and assemblies. Out of the majority of people who do put their hand over their heart how many of them are doing it, as you put it, in reference to ‘public opinion’ around them? As members of military families you and I probably look at this from a more intense perspective than many, but what bothers me is the increasing level of Americans who make patriotism into a series of chest beating and loud-shouting clichés and rituals. How many chain emails and talking head pundits do I have to hear criticize people for exercising the rights that others have sacrificed and fought for. Those who fought for those rights were fighting for everyone's rights, not just yours and not just mine. Along with rights comes a responsibility to exercise them. To suppress someone's rights is more injurious to those who sacrificed than to exercise those rights in opposition to something some of us may approve of.

Personally when I consider what might constitute or define patriotism the anthem, the flag and the pledge are not at the top of the list as these are just symbols and rituals that are used to demonstrate ones outward claims. What comes to the top of my list are things such as sacrifice, commitment, service, support of justice and equality, the willingness to defend your neighbors rights as much as your own, especially when they are in conflict, etc. The presidents reaction to the first few notes of the National Anthem may not be to automatically raise his hand to his heart, but is the automatic response anymore reverent? image
You say if this wasn’t an isolated incident it would be no big deal. Come on now! This is probably one of the most circulated political videos around and it is always accompanied by statements that it is unequivocal proof of his disrespect! Its usually titled “Barack Hussein Obama refuses to salute US flag” which is obviously a biased conclusion. You then state that further proof is that

“…he has went around the world and apologized for us to other countries when he should be proud of our country and not be apologizing. He says we are often arrogant as a country, etc,”.

What is the correlation between an apology and patriotism? I can understand that you may not agree with the apology. I can understand that you don’t think he should be apologizing, but what you see as unpatriotic others see as humility, and if your saying our country should not show humility when it has done wrong, or that this country has never done wrong, then aren’t you proving his statement that we are often arrogant?  You correctly point out many of the fine attributes and accomplishments of this great country but you ignore the darker and often hidden side of our history. I would point to slavery, genocide of native Americans, Jim Crow, segregation, etc. When you say we have “…overthrown the treacherous dictators, freed the people…” you overlook the fact that we have also supported dictators and corrupt regimes, as well as undercut or removed governments [some elected] that we have had the ‘arrogance’ to deem ‘not in our best interest’. The attitude that other peoples hate us only out of jealousy is also arrogant as it isolates all of those people we have differences with as not having valid grievances or the ability to reason and formulate actions. There are some whose dislike for us is rooted in unrealistic or unfounded perceptions but many have real or imagined grievances that could be addressed. I too am proud of this country. In spite of our transgressions I recognize the many great accomplishments, but pride without humility IS arrogance.

Is it that an apology is seen as a criticism of our country? I can see the logic of that, but is criticism of our country unpatriotic? I remember when criticism of our President was portrayed as unpatriotic and unsupportive of our troops [Bush and Iraq]. I remember when criticism of invading Iraq was portrayed as unpatriotic. But if criticism of our government and/or President is unpatriotic then where is the indignation over the criticism of this President? Where is the indignation of the Tea Parties portrayal of this country and government? I’m being sarcastic here because criticism is not unpatriotic, its as American as apple pie. That is, unless you are located on the wrong side of the political map.

As far as your statement that Obama ridicules America, I don’t see it, you have to show me what you mean.

In regards to:

“…yet to hear Obama tell it and to watch his actions, we are all heathens who need forgiveness for being so evil…”

this is your assessment and opinion. I disagree with it but your welcome to it. Also:

“…I don’t understand where this mentality comes from and it is shared by the liberal crowd…”,

again that is your assessment. I’m perceived as a liberal and I don’t believe that, but then as a liberal I am always subjected to right-wing explanations of what I’m supposed to believe.

The statement:

“I sure wish these same people would have been so quick to make excuses for Bush when he was president and Bush didn’t do anything that this president does yet he was called an imbecile and a racist and a monkey and the list goes on and on.”

First of all, to be sure. I didn’t call Bush a racist, never heard him called a monkey, and never questioned his intelligence. I just didn’t always see evidence of it. To say that Bush didn’t do anything this President does implies either this President didn’t do anything right or Bush didn’t do anything wrong. During Bush’s pre-911 months he was also making world stops like Obama, the difference was where Obama was apologizing Bush was offending. Not the same thing, but not really different either. Both could be seen as embarrassing. As far as wishing ‘these people’ would make excuses for Bush why is that necessary? He had and still has FOX news and conservative radio constantly doing that. If you want followers of Obama to make excuses for Bush then how about the reverse? If what you are saying is you wish we were more tolerant and less partisan then I can agree with that, but the video that started this conversation does not fit with that wish. It is meant to be divisive and inflammatory.

I tell you what… I’ll make a deal with you along these lines. I’ll defend Bush on something he was criticized for and you defend something that Obama was criticized for. You can choose what I defend and I’ll give you a heads up on what I would like you to defend, Obama’s Memorial Day agenda this year [2010]. It should be easy since the original portrayal of the FOX coverage of that agenda was totally rebuked before Memorial Day arrived. Once the facts as laid out by FOX concerning the agenda’s of past presidents was found to be false and misleading there shouldn’t be to much work in defending his agenda. People may find your defense unbelievable though if all they watch is FOX  since they never, as usual, retracted their misrepresentations.

In terms of people saying we should support the current President, shouldn’t we? Weren’t we supposed to support the previous one and the ones before that? I remember on numerous times when criticism of Bush was categorized as unpatriotic, against the troops, or traitorous there were some less inflammatory defenders of Bush saying support the office, if not the man. Support doesn’t mean we have to agree or vote for his ideals, but it should at least mean we don’t hope he fails or pray for his assassination.

by Glenn Littrell


HappyCamper said...

I must say, you make a very articulate and compelling argument for your point of view on this entire “The Whole Hand Over His Heart Debacle.” It is very reasoned and well thought out and you provide very convincing and specific examples for your side. I would like to cordially respond to several things you have said.

You admit, “I too wish he would [put his hand over his heart all the time]”. You go on to say that “everyone should do so for a variety of reasons”. This admission indicates that it is preferable to place the hand over the heart during the National Anthem. I feel the main reason for doing this is to SHOW RESPECT for the National Anthem and I think you would agree with that premise. Conversely, not placing ones hand over the heart COULD BE construed as a show of disrespect. I agree it is not necessarily a show of disrespect and you are right, it is not criminal to not do so but no one has ever accused the president of breaking the law in the video. There are various reasons it would not be construed as a show of disrespect, for example; someone could be paralyzed in their right arm, they might be uneducated in proper etiquette and decorum towards showing respect for our anthem, they could feel peer pressure to not do so to avoid the possibility of ridicule from friends, especially kids in school.

Regardless of all of these reasons, this does not explain why the president would feel compelled not to do so since none of these examples apply to him. If anything, you would think he would feel out of place since all others on stage were placing their hand over their heart. Furthermore, he is not just some citizen or high school kid at a pep rally. He is the president of the United States and I am almost certain you would not see any military officer not display such honor and yet he is the Commander in Chief. I would challenge anyone to show just one example of where any other president refused to display such respect for our flag or anthem. I think what Obama did in the video is unprecedented.

I understand you also question what the correlation is between Obama apologizing and his lack of patriotism. I think it is a reasonable conclusion to draw that if someone feels his country is arrogant and guilty of wrong doing to the point where they must apologize, it is reasonable to see that as a motive as to why he would not be proud of his country and honor his country’s anthem. This is the pattern I was speaking of when I mentioned that Obama has a history and reputation never seen in any previous president in which he is not proud of his country. His wife even feels the same way and we have it in her own words that, "only now, for the first time" she is "proud of her country." I guess her husband had to be elected president to finally make her proud of our country, sad. What more do you need when you have it coming from her, in her own words. Obama also attended the church of a pastor who ridiculed America and called it the US of KKK and said, “God Damn America”. The examples go on and on and it has actually gotten to the point in which it is so blatant and so obvious that it is hard to believe people actually try to defend him and paint a picture that he is not really the guy he is. At some point you think his defenders would throw in the towel on this one and have to concede, OK, he is not very patriotic and is obviously not proud of his country and does come across as actually being ashamed of his country from time to time.

HappyCamper said...

Finally, I would like to address one last point in your posting. I would actually like to address many more but it is getting very late and in the interest of saving time I will only respond to your statement that you didn’t call Bush a racist and never heard him called a monkey. I wasn’t referring to you specifically when I said people call him a racist and a monkey. I was speaking of the liberal crowd in general but to be more specific and to illustrate this accusation is accurate, I would like to remind you that Kanye West said Bush didn’t like black people because he, Bush, didn’t do more to prevent what happened to black people during hurricane Katrina. West was basically saying Bush was racist. This even after Bush pleaded with the people of New Orleans to evacuate and they didn’t. He tried to get Nagin to use buses to evacuate the city but Nagin would not and then he blamed the results of his failure to evacuate on Bush. Bush was trying to respect the sovereignty of the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans when he was told by both Mayor Ray Nagin and U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu that they had it under control. Then, just to point out another of the endless double standards, Nashville, TN endured the worst flooding in 100 years and President Obama has not even visited the devastated city even once, this is unheard of and such a double standard. No one is saying Obama is racist, you hear nothing about his failure to visit Nashville yet Bush was a racist even though he repeatedly visited New Orleans and gave more to Africa for AIDS treatment than all other presidents combined. This is such a glaring double standard and it goes on and on. It is so obvious it is laughable to try to deny the double standard or explain it away. As for being called and compared to a monkey, I am not insinuating that you called him a monkey but I would like to refer you to the following YouTube site: This is only one of many YouTube videos in which the left compares President Bush to a monkey. It is common knowledge that the liberal crowd used to constantly ridicule Bush’s intellect in spite of the fact that he was a graduate of both Yale and Harvard and his grades were better than John Kerry’s when they both went to the same school and who they claimed was so much smarter than Bush. For goodness sake, have you not seen all the bumper stickers which read, "somewhere in Crawford, TX there is a village who has lost their idiot."

I’m sure you agree with probably nothing I have said here and I’m sure I would never be able to convince you that Obama is not a patriotic president and I’m sure you take issue with all of the examples I have given you even though the facts speak for themselves. I just thought I would try to explain why I feel the way I do and even though it seems so glaringly obvious to me, I feel certain you will not see things from my point of few.