Tuesday, April 14, 2015
TELL ME YOU LOVE ME
This is America's Legacy
Self-blame is one of the most toxic forms of emotional abuse. Psychologists say it exaggerates our perceived inadequacies, whether real or imagined, and creates an illusory ideal that we simply cannot meet. In fact, in the Book of James, we are reminded, we all stumble in many ways” and from the Book of Ecclesiastes, we know “there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” After all, we are imperfect beings.
And despite our imperfections, we also know, in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “[T]he only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” This applies to nations, as well.
Now, thankfully, America has never chosen the “do nothing” path of life. From Bunker Hill to the Battle of the Bulge to the Berlin Wall, over 2.8 million soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice in combat, defending our nation’s liberty and making the world safer. This is America’s legacy.
But when we don’t recognize our own humanity – our imperfection – when we begin to blame (and shame) ourselves when things go wrong. Have you ever seen yourself as the problem when things seem to go wrong in your life? Or blamed yourself? Well, President Obama and other ones in Washington certainly have, except it’s our country that they blame most often for everything that has gone wrong in the past – and that will be wrong in the future, as well.
Just last week, at an Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House, Obama blamed “less-than-loving expressions by Christians” who do not care enough for others, even though he didn’t mention the murders of 147 students in Kenya for just being Christian. No mention made of the 100,000 Christians that are killed annually because of their faith, or the rise of anti-Christian violence in Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt. On the terrorist front, Obama said America is to blame for the barbarism of ISIS, as well. After all, he said, when we send in our military and occupy a country, like we did in Iraq, we “end up feeding extremism.” It’s our fault, said the “blame America” crowd, and don’t forget Guantanomo Bay and Abu Ghraib – we sorta of have it coming to us, they said.
And when Iran said,“Death to America,” or its regime shoots its own people in the streets, Obama said this is again, our fault, because the United States “meddled” in their democracy during the 1970s and 1980s, and sided with Iraq, in the Iran-Iraq war. And when Iran gets its own nuclear weapons, and strikes out against Israel, or launches an attack in our country? If you ask Obama, that will again be our fault.
While visiting Turkey, Obama expressed his self-shame, on behalf of the country that elected him to their highest office in the land, and said, we’re “still working through some of our own darker periods in our history. Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation.” That might be true, but comparatively speaking, how about a mention of the Turkish government’s mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915, as well?
Obama has given countless interviews with international media, self-blaming us all profusely for those times “where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” While in Spain, Obama said our foreign policy has sought to “dictate our terms,” and while on Arab television he shamed America by again apologizing for our “mistakes.”
Think we’re done self-shaming America? Nope. In fact, we’re just getting started.
How about when Obama’s approval ratings declined recently? Well, that is our fault too – it’s because our nation is too racist. Obama said, “There’s no doubt that there’s some folks who just really dislike me because they don’t like the idea of a black President.” Climate change? That’s America’s fault too, and Obama assured the international community, “We recognize our role in creating this problem; we embrace our responsibility to combat it.” And that’s good to be so committed, because we’re on our own, it seems, to decarbonize the planet. China is building one coal-burning energy plant nearly every month and they’re spending $275 billion to establish a fracking program, plus they just signed a pipeline deal worth $300 billion with Russia – but America is creating the problem of polluting the environment? Really?
Yes, we do have real issues that need solutions, and not merely words, or a lot of “feel good” hooey. But let’s focus on the bright spots, and what’s working, and do more of that going forward, and less blaming and shaming ourselves for what hasn’t worked in the past. When we do this, we only make room for the opportunities to make a better tomorrow, a stronger America, and a peaceful world.
And yes, as Obama said at the Easter Prayer Breakfast, people of faith are often counseled to extend loving-kindness to others. But Mr. President, couldn’t you extend this same loving-kindness to our own country, and cut us all a break, as well?
Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman and attorney. He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by email at email@example.com.