Friday, April 15, 2011

First, Do No Good

Once we Americans stood up for victims of the world’s vilest human rights abusers; while they sat, bent, starved, crawling with vermin, cold, light-deprived, in the prison cells and torture chambers of murderous religious autocracies, vicious tyrannies, and cruel dictatorships, we said their names—and the names of their tormenters—out loud and in outrage, and on the quiet, too. The knowledge that we were doing so—and they did know—helped prisoners draw courage and hope, and overcome despair, whatever they suffered. When they were freed, those who hadn’t died of their injuries, anyway, and when it was our pressure that had made release possible, they said so. They put their faith in our greatness, and so did we. We believed in the desire of subjugated people everywhere to share in it and benefit from it, and we manfully shouldered burdens and shed our own blood in the name of it.

Once we stood with our friends and allies and went after our enemies even though—and sometimes because—the rest of the world found our doing so an inexplicable affront to its fine pusillanimity.

Once we were men.

Now we are chilly, effete, feminized, Europeans manqués—or that, at any rate, is what the man who is currently the face of our nation is—and to hell with anyone crying out for our protection. Even the voices of that repugnant collection of primitive Jew-hating anti-Western misogynists who are interned in the infamous prison complexes of Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Libya, or whose blood is at the moment staining the streets of Tehran, Cairo, Damascus, Dara, and Benghazi—yes, even those barbaric humanoid brutes might, under the right circumstances and with the most careful and attentive re-education, be redeemed one day to full humanness in actuality—call out to us. They lick their wounds and bury their dead while they wait for us, more and more hopelessly, or, worse, find themselves, some of them without knowing quite how it’s happened, suspended in the sticky silk of a new colony of religious autocrats—an old-new colony, really; the Muslim Brotherhood has lurked a very long time indeed, spinning, black-widow-like, in hungry anticipation of encasing and devouring them.

And little wonder: So deformed is Mr. Obama’s worldview by the moral equivalence he sucked at the teats of his various masters, that he is able to expel in the same breath a condemnation of “the abhorrent violence committed against peaceful protesters by the Syrian government today and over the past few weeks,” and a warning against “any use of violence by protesters.” But these struggles interest us less and less; they are France’s business now (Toujours la Résistance!), and the EU’s, and NATO’s, and the Arab League’s.

The self-satisfied man who finds the non-perkified aspects of the presidency—the actual work of being the world’s primer inter pares—increasingly irksome, and his constituency—the rest of us Americans, his aggrieved leftist base no less by now than the tea-partiers for whom he has so often evinced such sneering contempt—an increasingly irritating interruption of his fun; the fishy-cool man who casts aside alliances of longstanding with no second thought; the mendacious man who is not above claiming credit for securing deals he’s vocally opposed and pretending to oppose deals he means to make—that is a man who has never betrayed the oath he apparently swore just after he’d finished promising to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” and just before he and his resentful bride were installed in the White House: First, Do No Good.

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