We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us

Americans have a sense that the enemy of America is some entity that exists outside the USA. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was the enemy. With the ending of the Cold War, the enemy was no longer a nation; it was the Muslim people from whatever country they came from. Subsequent to 9/11, the status of Muslims changed to one that rivaled the Soviet Union as an enemy. The threat that Moslems pose to America has resulted in America’s involvement in wars in two Moslem countries – Iraq and Afghanistan.

Because of the belief that the enemy of their country is an external entity, some Americans will find it hard to believe that within our borders there are people who are just as dangerous as the external enemy. Pogo’s (the comic-strip character), comment, “We have met the enemy and he is us,” aptly describe some Americans who are unintentionally weakening America.

Pogo’s “we” is the conservative politicians who have spent the last five years trying to demonize President Obama. No American would think of a politician as an enemy of America. After all, when politicians get elected they take the following oath of office:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance…. faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

In addition, they say the pledge of allegiance every time they meet in Congress.

What the conservative politicians in Washington have done is to weaken America. Three basic ways they are doing this are: (i) by obstructing the passage of bills that would help economic recovery. The Jobs Bill to put Americans back to work, the Unemployment Extension Bill, and the Infrastructure Bill to repair bridges and highways are three examples, (ii) by withholding their support to President Obama on key foreign policy issues, and (iii) by making personal attack on the president with comments like, you lie, he cannot be trusted, he is in over his head, he is un-American, he is weak, he was not born in America, and he is a half-mongrel dog.

The anti-Obama political rhetoric from some conservative politicians has reached the stage where it is doing more harm than good to the country. This rhetoric is not constructive criticism it is more of a personal attack designed to demonize the president. Any local or foreign incidents that have negative outcomes draw some kind of disrespectful comments that have one purpose – making the president look bad. The tragedy involving the shooting down of the Malaysian commercial plane with surface-to-air missile killing all passengers on board is an example. With a tragic and sensitive matter like this, you would think that conservative politicians would exercise sound judgment and support the president.

The disdain that the conservative politicians have for President Obama was again exposed when Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea. Sarah Palin who has a knack for saying the most ridiculous things sang praises to Putin while ridiculing President Obama, when she said, “Obama wears mom jeans while Putin wrestles with bear.” Senator Lindsay Graham during a CNN appearance called the president weak and indecisive for not doing something about Russia invading the Ukraine. Then last Thursday after the shooting down of the Malaysian plane, Senator John McCain appearing on Hannity, Fox TV show said, “This is what we use to call in the military AWOL….It’s just been cowardly, it is a cowardly administration.” It is as if the GOP members are playing a game of who can say the most outrageous thing about the president.

Conservative politicians like Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsay Graham, Sarah Palin, and others should consider that maybe their personal attacks on President Obama and their crusade to demonize and delegitimize our president is weakening the country. Maybe they should consider that it’s not President Obama who is weakening America but they themselves.

Putin probably recognizes that the lack of support for President Obama is an opportune time to do his dirty work of destabilizing former Russian states like Crimea and the Ukraine to bring them back into the fold. If this is indeed his ploy then he is trying to take advantage of the weakening of America by conservatives.

The world we live in today is a dangerous place as evidenced by terrorism in some countries, the shooting down of the Malaysia plane, the fighting in Gaza, and mass shootings that are happening too frequently here in America. Times like these need leaders with sound judgment and wisdom to make decisions.

History is replete with of political leaders who have caused great harm to their countries by their divisive actions and negative rhetoric. American political leaders should be careful not to encourage countries like China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and others by constantly using anti-Obama rhetoric. Doing so will make these countries believe that the political leadership in America is divided and this could lead them to make decisions that might jeopardize the security of America and the world. It is prudent for our political leaders to remember that a divided country is a weak country.