We, in the United States of America, celebrate President’s Day every year. Today, February 15, we will celebrate it once again as we see the last year in the term of one president make way for the election of the next president.
Much as he has disappointed me on many levels – and he should have done much more on some things, and much less on others – I will miss President Obama. There is no doubt that he is a very fine man who presided over a very bloody world that was only partly due to his policies; he headed this nation at a time of the deliberate demise of any semblance of cooperation amongst our corrupt and opportunistic politicians; his term came during an unprecedented moment in the history of this nation when corporations became “people” with all the protections provided by the law and as that same law was seeing to it that the human “people,” especially minorities and the poor, were being deprived of their lawful protections; during these seven years, the US under his watch, and more than ever, has been rampaging unapologetically across the world reinforcing our sorry status to many as the foremost bully and thug nation; it was a time when everything seemed to be turning on its head, when “wrongs” became “rights,” and when New York’s Madison Avenue and Washington, DC’s K Street succeeded in warping and twisting so many facts and presenting their well-constructed lies to the ignorant of our nation as God’s Only Truth; all this succeeded in blanketing the country with a horrible atmosphere giving me the eerie feeling that the stage was being set for physically dividing this nation and planting the evil seeds that could end its federation as we know it. Seceding? It has been seriously discussed in some circles. Very unfortunate! Indeed, a few thousand extremists, and certainly not the majority, have been holding President Obama’s tenure and, consequently, this nation, hostage to the most depraved politicking. At a moment in history when the whole world seems to be in a spiraling free fall whose catastrophic effects are yet to be fully manifested, I cannot but say that this is so terribly irresponsible and shameful!
And, yes, while it is only a radical and extremist minority that is supporting and advocating this atrocious ambiance, I know how easy it is to start a conflict and what an armed, corrupt, ignorant and belligerent minority is capable of wreaking. I saw it first-hand in Lebanon when a few thousand armed thugs out of a population of about three million at the time, held that nation hostage for about fifteen years as they rampaged and murdered. Beirut, whether by conspiracy or coincidence, has since become the microcosm and genesis of how urban warfare is conducted. And, that same scenario which played out in Beirut, has since been repeated in the cities of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and we are not yet done with the continuing atrocities of that devastated and devastating landscape. Not by a long shot! In fact, if the way things are moving over there is any indication, it is that the future looks very dismal and ominous.
A distressing evening comes to my mind as I am writing this. It was towards the end of 1974 when about five of us were gabbing away in my living room as our spouses were playing poker in my kitchen. While bringing up the subject of our parents, one of the women posed a question: Do you think that what happened to the Palestinian people could ever happen to us? No way, we all chirped in! That tragedy will not repeat itself! Well, lo and behold, in April of 1975 the first skirmishes began and the conspiracy to dismantle Lebanon was well afoot! By about five years later, the mass exodus of the elite class and many in the middle class was on its way to Europe, The United States, as well as to some of the adjacent Arab countries. A brain drain was in the process of taking place, and the conspiracy was cheering as all of us looked on horrified and disbelieving! The unthinkable was happening, and the tragedy of the Palestinian people was repeating itself with a different scenario, though executed by the same wicked players. Yes, sometimes we all refuse to admit to our realities.
Lebanon’s story, as well as the events in the entire Middle East, should be a cautionary tale for any extremist factions of how what might begin as a blustering dissent, racism, bigotry, greed, incitement and macho provocative threats could very easily spiral out of control and have dire unintended consequences.
There is no doubt that there are ample causes that, if not addressed by wise and rational leaders, by honest and decent patriots, could take this nation to where the majority of its citizens cannot clearly foresee in the fervor of the moment, nor would they want to go.
Simply by looking at what is happening to our nation’s poor, to the Black community, to minorities in general, to women’s issues, to our armed-to-the-teeth police force, to the neglected veterans, to the income disparities and inequalities and to the outright racism that the Muslim community is being subjected to is enough to cause us all to step back from the pugnacious political scene and ask ourselves what is in the best interests of this nation’s population, as well as the world’s, and to speak up lest our silence endanger all of us, as well as the whole world.
Sanity, Wisdom and Reason are more needed today than they ever were in order to address the myriad problems facing humanity. Will we call on them, or assume deadly silence? And will the United States elect a wise responsible leader who can navigate the treacherous waters in this nation, as well as in the world?
I dread this upcoming election in the US as never ever before!