Softer America is at risk

Published 11:00 pm Monday, March 2, 2009

Does anyone else already miss the comical presidential campaign rhetoric? President Barack Obama hasn’t been called a terrorist or a communist in weeks, it’s difficult to remember the last joke made about John McCain’s age on a late night talk show, and the editorial cartoons featuring George Bush as a toddler cowboy have long ago disappeared.

Doesn’t life just seem more boring?

Well, we’ll just have to spend the next few years thinking up fodder for the next election. One avenue the right leaning among us might want to pursue further is the portrayal of Democrats as pansies. Not flowers, but, you know, less than tough when it comes to dealings with rival foreign leaders.

Liberals just don’t have that John Wayne persona. George Bush talked tough (even when we were laughing about what he had just said), Donald Rumsfeld acted tough, and Dick Cheney ate tough for breakfast along with his nail cereal. But Obama, Joe Biden and Robert Gates? Not much tough. Terrorists will rejoice, some said. Vladimir Putin is licking his chops. Kim Jong Il is laughing.

It was easy to dismiss this conservative assertion before the Democrats actually took office and we could see how the world would respond, but the early returns aren’t encouraging for the Obama supporters.

Consider Canada, our cold and peaceful neighbor to the north. No Canadian has uttered an aggressive word as long as can be remembered (history books didn’t seem to include any, either), but the country’s defense minister got brave a couple of weeks ago when a Russian bomber was caught nearing Canadian airspace shortly before a planned visit from Obama.

“I am not going to stand here and accuse the Russians of having deliberately done this during the presidential visit, but it was a strong coincidence, which we met with a presence, as we always do, with F-18 fighter planes,” Peter MacKay said.

As we always do? Who knew Canada had a reputation of being confrontational?

Our country’s most significant rival, China, also seems have found its courage because of the new U.S. administration. In response to a State Department report on the communist country’s poor human rights record, the Chinese government released its own report—on U.S. human rights.

Based partly on the fact that many young Americans “have personality disorders” and/or “some sort of psychiatric condition,” the report advises the U.S. government to “begin anew, face its own human rights problems with courage, and stop the wrong practice of applying double standards on human rights issues.”

Ooooooh. The previous administration wouldn’t have put up with that, and the Chinese knew it. But this is a softer America, one where we talk about our feelings and coddle schizos. God (or Dick Cheney) help us.

–Stephen Dawkins is the sports editor for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Tuesday.