Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pay Attention

October 15, 2009

I’m sitting here at my laptop, incapable of putting together the exact words that I want to say in reaction to political consultant Raynard Jackson’s comments on recently.

Saying that GOP Black candidates are a “…total embarrassment…”

Saying that GOP Black candidates are “…more intent about being accepted into the party than calling a spade a spade…”

Then, following it up in his personal op-ed with “…White people are supporting you (Black Republican candidates) because you are Black so that you can speak out against the Black president, so the white people won’t have to (because they can’t call you a racist since you are Black). Oh, I get it now. You know we have a term for people like that and it begins with the word UNCLE!”

In an editorial titled, “Black Republicans Running From Race”, no less.

At first, I was in need of a title that was appropriate and tempered.

It took me a moment, but at least I can say.

Ah, yes. I have the words now.

Mr. Jackson, “Pay Attention.”

First, pay attention to the Black Republicans– the candidates as well as party activists, elected officials, and pundits alike - that are out there fighting racism within America as well as the degradation of the Black community simultaneously.

I assure you, it’s a thankless job, one that prompts criticism from all sides:
• from many Democrats that state that Black Republicans don’t really love Black people even as we work to help the community with our efforts, speaking to political issues that impact our communities, especially Democrat-controlled urban centers;

• from many Republicans that question Black Republicans’ loyalty to the party’s message and values when we call for accountability on issues from all sides, including Republicans; and

• from Black people themselves, many of whom put us through unnecessary, repeated rounds of validations to proof how Black we are.

Apparently, that criticism now also comes from Black conservative pundits that seemingly feel more comfortable in calling out the rising crop of Black Republicans in the media versus using their platforms to reflect and uplift the current movement – and even hold them accountable constructively without calling them an “embarrassment” and devaluing their candidacies.

Offering them time on your radio show to address your concerns is, well, to paraphrase your own words, very “uncle” of you, Raynard. Perhaps next time it would be better to offer it proactively versus giving a reactive response to a public slam.

Not only would it give them a chance on your platform, but it would also involve the leadership – on your end as well as theirs – to pursue solutions, not just raise opposition, filling the void you allude to with your opinion.

Again I say: pay attention.

Pay attention to how these Black Republican candidates are following the pattern that Black Democrats (including President Barack Obama) have played out over the years – a pattern that has allowed the previous candidates to win unlikely seats, including the White House. What is that pattern? Namely - talk about race only when pressed and it is politically comfortable, but do not fixate themselves on issues of race, lest they become marginalized as solely a “Black candidate” – and one incapable of winning a larger race.

As a political consultant, you should know this: it’s not advantageous to be a political anomaly (Black conservative) when you are trying to be a winning candidate. Novelty is only successful on television; familiarity and comfort are what’s successful in the voting booth.
Just as Black America collectively does not hold President Obama accountable for the race-related issues going on in the nation (including Black-on-Black crime), we must not demand that these candidates do so, particularly as they are in the process of fundraising, brand-building, and networking. It is not their calling at this point in time. When repeated calls for President Obama to be more vocal concerning the plight of Black people in this nation, the overwhelming response includes rhetoric explaining that the president is “the president of all Americans”, thus exonerating him from speaking out. Just the same, if these candidates are of the business of the whole electorate they seek to serve, why must people (and Black Republicans, no less) go out of their way to force them to – in many ways – validate their Blackness by speaking out and jeopardizing their electoral chances? Don’t they have enough obstacles to overcome as historical figures?

I thought that we Republicans believed in “We the People”, not the monolithic model we see elsewhere?

Raynard, if these candidates are running to represent whole districts or states, why must we force them to go off-task, especially as they rally against being underdog candidates that have to fight stereotypes, funding challenges, and perhaps even the “good ol’ boy” network that still exists in certain segments of the GOP at the state level in some regions of the country? It doesn’t do them any good to speak to the racism that they have to overcome as candidates – both with the state structures and perhaps within the electorates they must bond with. Let the untouchables tackle the tough issues, for after all, not every political animal (especially Black Republicans) needs to become a sacrificial lamb. Do we not have enough public figures that are Black, conservative, and active in the on-goings of politics and community development to speak out in the void of leadership concerning race relations that you are mentioning? If we don’t have enough, why are not the few filling the need of the many right now? The harvest is ripe but the harvesters are few – and must get busy. And if we do have enough, wouldn’t it make more sense for Black Republicans to support historic political hopefuls in an off-election year than it would to attack Black GOP candidates with a double standard not applied to the likes of Roland Burris, Deval Patrick, and a host of other Black Democrats that often tip-toe around issues of race during campaigns and terms in office?

Maybe, unless, of course, you’re not paying attention.

So, I say again: pay attention.

Namely, pay attention to your role in the game as well as the other roles of other players in this political game that impacts our society – and Black people throughout the nation as well as all Americans.

There is a time and a place for the words of rhetoric to meet with the actors in history and windows of opportunity. For that time and place to be maximized, it must be pursued and enacted by the right people with the right motives. The power of the pen influences the pulse of politics. The power behind the pen has the ability to write a better history if motivation with the pen is rightfully paying attention. Thus, there is a historical and ethical obligation that you hold, Raynard, particularly in regards to your opinions with the current crop of Black Republican candidates. There is an obligation to ensure that your words and deeds hold people appropriately accountable, making sure that your actions are more BENeficial (even as you hold them accountable) instead of just being Ben-like – uncle, that is.

And let me say as one that gets called “uncle” much despite only having one niece – that is such a dirty term, particularly coming from another Black man. Use it as you would use a gun, because just as with a bullet, neither can be put back into the chamber once fired.

Putting words in their mouths (saying that they stand with the folks that called President Obama a Nazi or saying that they echoed Joe Wilson’s disrespect in September) isn’t beneficial or, from what I can see, accurate. Saying that they believe that their Blackness is only an asset when criticizing President Obama (even as many would say that their Blackness is NOT an asset as a candidate running for office as a Republican) seems to misconstrue their positions on being Black and Republican (something that each candidate seemingly is equally proud of simultaneously) in 2009. Saying that they are distancing themselves from race only because they will not fixate on it as candidates applies that aforementioned double standard that Black Democrats use to their advantage, even as Black Republicans must validate their Blackness at every mention of race relations. It hampers Black Republicans. It hampers the GOP. It hampers America.

And saying that there has not been any opposition to the incidents of racial insensitivity within the GOP’s ranks by Black Republicans? All I can say to that is, well, pay attention.

For fellow Black conservatives like you, Raynard, there is a considerable and historic requirement to pay attention to the rules of politics post-Obama and subsequently apply them with every political maneuver. There is an absolute need to pay attention to history calling us to benefit America, save Black America, and change the dynamics of politics in America. We must start using that call as a guide to determine best steps daily. Calling a Black Republican the “U” word or holding up double standards to Black Republicans (even at the risk of defending Black liberalism – as a Black conservative, no less) only earns one a place in a long line of haters, race baiters, and the disillusioned. It does not answer the calls to leadership. It does not prompt a viable call for accountability. It does not bridge people to better social and political realities as Americans. It does not even prompt more people to…well…pay attention.

So, I’m asking that you do just that – pay attention: to the rules, to the goals, to our needs, and to the call of history before us. And just know that others are paying attention as well – to you and to others - to written and spoken words being offered as ropes regarding our Black Republican candidates. Let’s make sure that they are used to pull up – not hang up – these candidates as they gain momentum.

After all, the nation is paying attention.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A National Pastime

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

At this rate, I'm looking forward to hearing from the North Koreans again around Flag Day, unless they consider Halloween a true "national holiday" here in the United States.

The way that they say "hello" really has a way of catching one's attention, doesn't it?

The North Koreans insistence to continue firing off missiles each American holiday (this time, yesterday on Columbus Day) is playing to a current weakness of the White House's image to date, especially in light of the recent Nobel Peace Prize that the president "earned" last Friday.

As we have learned from the playground, diplomacy only goes so far sometimes. With the playground bully, the kid continues to take your lunch money until you put up for yourself. It doesn't matter how many teachers you tell or how many times that kid goes to detention - when the next chance comes up to do the same thing without getting caught, he (or she) is coming back to collect. The same is true with some of the rogue nations that we are dealing with internationally. North Korea and others are going to push the limits of decency and international safety until someone checks them back into a place of civility, cooperation, and compliance. And at this rate, it is not going to come about through pure diplomacy.

People incorrectly view our national pastime as being one of imperialism and oppression. Although there is a history that supports some of those claims, we must not overlook the more important tactic that the United States now takes on - bully-checker.

As with the Iranian nuclear march, North Korea will continue to be a problem around the Korean Peninsula until there is an equal or mightier threat to push them towards reverting back from this dangerous trend. That is becoming more clear. Unfortunately, diplomacy only works when sides share a common goal or belief that can be used as the bridge to connect adversaries to a beneficial solution for all. However, when the world view is not shared by opposing sides (as we have found through human history, not just American history), the main recourse that eventually ends being effective is military presence, be it through threatening means or through actual discourse.

In this matter, it means having the North Koreans looking over their collective shoulder, knowing that the United States will eventually respond.

Being the bully-checker has its advantages.

Our national pastime for the past thirty years has been to be that presence within the international community that can do the most persuasion with the least amount of loss of life, mostly due to the might of the American military and our unique standing as the world's military superpower. Often overlooked is that this reality limited the length of Desert Storm and other military actions that the USA and her allies have engaged in over the course of the past 30 years. Even in instances where matters have lingered on longer than expected (Iraq and Afghanistan clearly come to mind), our power keeps matters from exploding into a bi-continental battleground as it was on 9/11 (or, some could argue, as it was with the recent arrests here in Dallas and New York City.) Our exclusive power has kept another power (can anyone say Iran? Iraq vis-a-vis Saddam Hussein? the PLO?) from escalating their actions and rhetoric further against Israel. In fact, our power has also been used to temper Israel in some of its actions (although not all, as with the case with some Muslim nations) against its neighbors in the Middle East.

Being the bully-checker has its advantages, and it is a pastime that the latest Nobel Peace Prize recipient should not abdicate merely to create equality amongst the nations. As the North Korean actions have shown us, the pursuit of equal nations across the globe threatens the existence of the equality of all people around the world. The void left by the disappearance of the American superpower will be chased by a nation (or set of leaders) without noble intentions. North Korea's recent pastime has been flying the skies at key times in the American calendar. America's recent pastime as the world's superpower post-USSR, albeit flawed, should not wither away lest we wrestle with some international bully that won't go away until all of us lose a lot more than lunch money.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I'm Waiting...

Monday, October 12 2009

I went on Canadian television on Friday, telling the viewers that I was waiting for Rush Limbaugh to declare that the Nobel Peace Prize became an affirmative action award. I just knew that the self-proclaimed king of conservative talk radio would come out and say that the Nobel Committee was bent on their desire to see the first Black president success that it would drive the media and their own prize in a direction to ensure this “victory.”

Kind of like how Limbaugh said the media wanted Donovan McNabb to succeed at quarterback at all costs just to have a successful Black quarterback to debunk the (now-ancient) myth about Black quarterbacks.

Well, the good news is that Limbaugh didn’t quite go down that path.

The bad news is that other talk show hosts did.

And it’s worse that their opinions seem to carry some merit – even if it’s not true.

And the worst of it is that it will only be another cog in the machine to division in America.

The Obama Peace Prize will fall out of the news cycle soon enough, just as other items do quickly in our 24/7 news coverage world. However, the quickness in which the American president was rewarded - for among other things, not being President Bush, trying to negotiate (through the media and one-off communications) with rogue nations, and downplaying the USA’s status as a superpower – will not stay gone. This angst will linger for those that oppose the president for months, becoming an underlying sentiment of frustration and resentment that will fuel more opposition (and theories) in an invisible way.

Opponents of the Obama will have a point as well. As others have said, this Nobel Peace Prize is a clear attempt of the Nobel Committee (and select others) to influence the president in regards to his impending decisions concerning Iran and Afghanistan. What others have not said is that this is also a clear attempt by other influences to tell the American people what type of president they should look to elect and support moving forward. Not only does this include the type of demeanor this president should take with the international community (conciliatory and apologetic), but it also includes how Americans should expect its leaders to move forward with foreign policy (diplomatic relations, even if unsuccessful or inconsequential.)

And that is the problem, not some rant about “affirmative action” or “not doing anything.”

The problem with President Obama’s global popularity is that he is rapidly becoming famous for being…well…famous, instead of being the type of leader that people expected him to be as he was voted into office this time last year. And if there is a weak link to the president, some are claiming that it’s his vanity, something that may come into play as the Peace Prize is awarded to him in Oslo in the near future. Will the president’s insistent belief that “…the respect of our global neighbors around the world helps keep America safe…” compromise his ability to do everything within his power as our leader to keep America safe? With the award this Friday has come rhetoric that President Obama cannot be a war president and a peace prize winner simultaneously. However, if Obama is to keep America safe from enemies that do not see self-destruction as a deterrent, the only means to keep America safe is to pursue war on the offensive – thus, making Obama a “war president” in much the same way that the global anti-Obama (that would be George W. Bush) was since September 11, 2001.

Even more interesting is this: if the Nobel Peace Prize was given to President Obama for what he was going to do (versus what he has done to date), yet he turns around and applies the Bush Doctrine to Afghanistan and Iran, will he lose the award – or, more importantly to him and his supporters, the esteem he currently garners around the world?

Personally, I’m waiting to see what plays out – not the calls of “affirmative action” and others slurs against our POTUS and the Nobel Prize Committee, but for whether Americans’ confidence and appreciation for safety mean more to the latest Peace Prize winner than does the adoration of a left-leaning international community, especially if that includes a paradoxical military directive in the face of very real international threats.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Second City, Second Priority, Second Chances

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

(The following editorial is a transcript exclusive for Hip Hop Republican. The transcript was read during “The Weekend Countdown with Kaela Harmon” on WGCV-AM in Columbia, South Carolina Friday, October 02, 2009.)

I’m sure that there are plenty of people that are disappointed with Chicago losing out in the race for the 2016 Summer Olympics Games. Moreso, it stinks that the Windy City came in a disappointing 4th place after dropping out of contention after the 1st round of voting.

However, one thing that was worse for the Second City is how the Black youth of Chicago have been given 2nd-rate treatment by one of their own, even as he traveled to secure parades in the streets in 2016 while blood continues to flow in the streets in 2009.

Many bloggers, journalists, and pundits – as well as more African-Americans – are becoming more critical of President Barack Obama’s “true” connection with Black America. The shocking silence coming from the White House after such a shocking death in his beloved South Side only indicates a growing sentiment within Middle America, one that has been noted by Black conservatives for decades now:

Just because they look like you and talk the good game at the polls and during election time does NOT mean that they stand with you through thick and thin.

If the past 60 years of domestic policies in our urban cities have not brought that to light, perhaps this latest episode does.

Don’t get me wrong – Black Republicans have a lot of work to patch up the gashes of mistrust between African-Americans and the GOP. These separations are not misunderstandings – many of them were “hard-earned” mistakes, gaffs, and racial residue from years gone past. With that said, Black America is at a crossroads of experiencing one of the biggest disappointments for Black youth and Black people in a long, long time – and our collective ability to focus on what matters and not what is apparent.

We took Black pride in the election of Barack Obama. It was good to do so from a historic sense. I held that pride as well – in January, but certainly not by June. And clearly, whereas the discussions concerning the causes behind continued unemployment, ongoing wars, and a lagging economy can be jostled behind Bush and Obama, it is becoming more evident that the president may have us on our own with issues impacting Black people in very real levels.

Those that point to his efforts on health care ignore Obama’s education record and actions as president.

Those that highlight his defense of all lives ignore his executive order to fund overseas abortion services, a move that increased abortions of ethnic babies throughout the world.

Those that say that Mr. Obama is a president, not a Black leader and should not be held to that higher standard must now question why Black people defend him at a higher level (as one of connection with “our president”) without enforcing any accountability in reciprocation (as in a relationship with “our president.”)

President Obama is not bigger than Black America. He is not bigger than Black History. He is merely a part of it. Dr. King wore a Noble Peace Prize and died defending the rights of garbage workers – because he was a Black leader and understood this.

Now that was a Black leader.

And before you say that President Obama is not seen as a Black leader, tell that to the scores of people that bought Obama t-shirts, commemorative plates, and the like.

President Obama – like other Blacks that have broken barriers that were previously viewed as impenetrable in America - has the historic and moral obligation to wear two hats simultaneously and successfully: one of competent American leader and one of influential African-American historical contributor. That opportunity was lost (again, some would add) when he failed to make a timely and profound (or even relevant) statement about the violence with Black youth in Chicago (throughout the recent period of spiked terror in these communities), even as he was preparing his statements to bring the 2016 Games to the shores of Lake Michigan.

Hopefully, now that the president is back from championing the Second City for the Olympics, perhaps he will make the Black youth of Chicago – and of other urban centers where they continue to die tragically - his second priority.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why We Must Lead with Courage and Debate with Love as Americans

This is now another reason why I do what I do.

Thank you for your prayers and support. God Bless.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Roland Martin Is Wrong…Sort of

Now, as you can probably imagine, Roland Martin and I are not going to agree on a lot of things when it comes to politics, especially when the subject is President Barack Obama. Love him as a child of God, but it is what it is.

I have heard Roland mention on several occasions that he doesn’t have a “side” in politics since he has voted for both Republicans and Democrats. I disagree – everyone nowadays seems to have a side, even as they have voted for both sides of the aisle in the past. And considering Martin’s reverent defense of all things Obama since 2008, it’s pretty clear that he has a side – and it’s with President Obama. To be fair, in these partisan-charged times, everyone seems to have a dog in the fight.

With all apologies to Mike Vick for using that analogy.

With that said, it seems partisan that Roland Martin would write a column stating that conservatives and Republicans were gleeful that the United States lost in our Olympic bid for the 2016 Summer Games. After all, it sounds like a Democratic rant, hearing that it was just another example of Republicans rooting against Obama at all costs.

Kinda like Democrats rooting against all things Bush –even the war efforts overseas after September 11– during the second Bush presidential term.

I digress.

Roland says that people were rooting against the United States getting the 2016 Olympics because President and Mrs. Obama went to Copenhagen to campaign for it.

And that is where he is wrong…sort of.

I will give Roland this: the anti-Obama bashing is getting old. Or, some would say, IS old. Some of the sense of triumph over the loss that the Second City incurred last Friday is disturbing. When it’s personal, it’s just tacky at the very least, just as it was with President Bush some months ago.

Yes, Roland - some have gone too far with their criticism, but then again, what’s new? For the most part, it’s the same round of criticism from the same crowd, using the same words to get the same result.

And even if their reactions are overboard…sort of…they still have some valid points.

You have to admit: President Obama is making it easier every day for his critics to find fodder to use against him. Going to Copenhagen overconfident of a win there for Chicago and the 2016 Games, only to come back home with America’s collective tail between its legs, is just the latest in a growing trend of overreach for goals, overestimation of the influence of the “Obama Factor”, and overexposure of a president that has had more prime time interviews that legislative or national victories since in office.

The President of the United States is unique office. One should not risk embarrassment of the presidency on the global stage unless the White House thought that the bid was in the bag – or unless the thinking was that the “Obama Factor” – his charm and his influence – would make the difference upon landing in Denmark.

George Will said it best on Sunday: this president has garnered the reputation of thinking that his personal charm alone is enough to broker deals, foster victories, and gain consensus on a myriad of issues. As the Copenhagen loss has shown, this can be a dangerous and arrogant way to waste time and resources at a critical crossroads in American history, particularly as the promises of the 2008 presidential campaign - and our status in the world community - are being lost to the realities of 2009.

What Roland missed in criticizing “Republican glee” in losing the Games for the Windy City is that the origins of criticism are expanding.

Black residents of Chicago are wondering why President Obama is not using that “extraordinary charm” to help heal the violence in the streets of Chicago. The first Black president has, for the most part, ridden the wave of being historic when convenient while being safe as a Black man when most needed. Beer summit aside, more within America are wondering if the president is getting intoxicated off of his own press clipping of greatness versus being overtaken by the obligation to be great for Black America. In 2008, he was a great symbol of hope and change for Americans, particularly African-Americans. In 2009, things have changed little and, as a result, hope is lessening.

Unemployed Americans are wondering why President Obama has not been able to use that charm to persuade benefactors of the stimulus package in February to expand the good fortune into the national economy. As unemployment jumped over the White House’s self-imposed “high-water mark” of 8%, Americans are finding themselves in need of effective leadership as they drown in broad unemployment rates that are frightfully approaching 20%. The charm and rhetoric of the 44th president have not translated into jobs and recovery for everyday Americans, even as Wall Street numbers have somewhat restored. This stagnation of results have come even as a supermajority in Washington should have paved the way for legislative victories for Democrats that, in theory, should have led to resulting victories for the nation.

American allies – and many Americans as well - are wondering why President Obama has continued to be soft on countries such as Iran and Venezuela, attempting to give them every benefit of the doubt despite their records of lies and deception to the international community. For example, the charm and extension of good will that the president has afforded Iran has only led to defiance, threats against the existence of Israel, and the flexing of military muscle both in development (exploring nuclear capabilities) and in practice (firing off of missiles.) Despite leaders saying that the “stench of sulfur” no longer lingers around the American Presidency, the willingness to work with the American president has not changed at all with these same leaders, all in spite of Obama’s personal charm.

It’s not about rooting against the United States or rooting against President Obama concerning the Olympic bid. It’s about wondering when the presidential reality show is going to end so that the star of the show can produce the ratings we really need: lower unemployment rates, higher consumer confidence rates, more cooperation around the globe, and less bickering with varying segments of the government – including the tension with the CIA – even as they work to secure America’s safety.

It’s not about rooting against more Mary Lou Retton moments or Michael Johnson magic on American soil. It’s about the continued blowing of Obama political capital like an over-the-hill real estate mogul in today’s market, burning through resources on targets with decreasing value even as his former genius and flare for success increasingly comes into question.

What have we gained in January? As the victories stay few and far between, people continue to wonder when the “Obama Factor” will yield long-promised bi-partisanship, increase in jobs, more cooperation with rogue nations, and unity amongst the fractionalized and tense of a politically- and racially-charged America. Without any gains soon at a time when we approach more critical issues (such as Afghanistan), more Americans – and more conservatives – will continue to rue seeing the president on a made-for-television reality tour that spreads from Leno to Letterman to landing in Denmark, even as they may find a little “I told you so” satisfaction in his shortcomings.

And then Roland Martin will write another article, slamming conservatives for rooting against the American president, saying that it’s more personal than anything else.

And he’ll be right, again…sort of.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Photo Phriday

Need I say more...
The call for change is evident...and the call to act is in the air.

When to Rally, When to Retreat

Thursday, October 1, 2009

By now, plenty of us are aware of the recent terror plots that were close to hatching on American soil – again. This time, without the intervention of law enforcement officers throughout the nation working together, we might have experienced another horrible loss of life as well as a major disruption to our daily ongoings as a country.

As we go through this experience, gathering the information behind the plots as sorting through the options to prepare us for other attempts, the Obama Administration comes to a fork in the road.

At an optimal time to rally the troops in order to keep us safe at home, it is also a grand opportunity - and event an excuse – to retreat from a previous course in action.

It has become a popular position politically to criticize the CIA for its tactics in the days post-September 11. To many, the rallying cry has not been in support of the men and women that work to keep America safe. Instead, the focal point has been whether America tortures its captives during the fury of war. Although the argument against torture has merits along moral, ethical, and legal lines, the definition of “torture” has undergone multiple variations as our levels of fear and paranoia have wavered over time. Leniency was given to garner information that would keep us safe in the immediate days after 9/11, a “benefit of the doubt” that we are not only withdrawing now, but are willing to overlook to the point of prosecuting some that have sought to protect us.

There may be a time and a place to reexamine our flawed behaviors and practices due to the trauma of September 11. However, at a time when our federal law enforcement officials are in desperate need of rallying support – especially in light of these recent developments with Najibullah Zazi and others – it is precisely the time when the Obama Administration (particularly Attorney General Eric Holder) should reconsider easing up on the investigative march towards criminal charges. A sound moral standing in the world community has merit, but it does not keep us as safe domestically from another terroristic attack as does a free and efficient system of federal enforcement that is unencumbered by a threat of 20-20 hindsight tactics years down the road.

This does not mean that we should open the doors to inhumane treatment, but it does mean that we should retreat from putting political expediency and world ethical renown above our sovereignty and safety, especially as we continue to see signs from both countries (e.g., Iran) and terror cells (e.g., the Zazi plot) that desperate times call for desperate (yet time-appropriate) measures before we are faced with more death and despair in the American mainland.

There is a time to clean up the affairs of federal agencies. There will be an opportunity to address our mistakes and correct our policies so that those that defend America can be good at their tasks while upholding our mantra in all aspects. However, with as many domestic agendas that the Obama Administration is chasing down (e.g., health care, turning around the economy, jobs creation) and the battles that it faces militarily (e.g., Afghanistan, Iraq, and potential terrorism around the world, including in America), the time for “hunting down” American borderline “war criminals” while we are in the process of pursuing murderers is not now. The heinous will be captured with our current policies. The rest must be fostered to keep us safe.

And before we rally our enemies to a new level of encouragement, we must make sure that we retreat from constraining those people we can count on the most.

Obama, Olympics, and the Overseas Missions

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I know that that Copenhagen, Afghanistan, and Chicago are literally thousands of miles away from each other, but when it comes to the connection that President Obama has to each, it would be wise for us to pay attention to the commonalities between them.

Particularly, one main commonality as 2012 approaches: the Summer Olympics.

Copenhagen and Chicago will be synonymous if the president has an opportunity to secure the Summer Games here in the United States for his beloved Second City. However, if the United States is going to pull off this coup successfully, one of the tipping points will not be seen just in Denmark. Ideally, we will see it in the president’s directives to defeat our enemies.

The recent plots of terrorism here on American soil only highlight the need for stability in the Middle East, particularly victories on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. We will also need to secure victories in the battle of wills between us and the Iranians. Any uptick in extremist behavior – both domestically and internationally – must be quickly addressed if we are going to host the world anytime soon for an endeavor such as the Olympics.

President Obama’s promotion of the Windy City is less of an advancement of Chicago’s credentials as a potential Olympic city than it is a reminder of the importance of fighting the battles with our opponents on foreign soil, not Fayetteville, North Carolina. Those with zeal to promote domestic successes (such as Olympic glory) without understanding the tie to battles thousands of miles away are missing the point. Nothing domestically that has been a focus recently – from health care to taxation to jobs creation – can be consciously pursued with maximal effort if the American people and its government are constantly looking over its collective shoulder, looking for the next attack. Worse still for us as a nation would be if this shared sense of concern was overlooked due to distance from history or political posturing. Where the merits of everything from fixing health care within America to bringing the Olympics to America has its place, none of those debates can take place without prioritizing the need to win our wars overseas.

Rooting out the Taliban and the forces of terrorism now will make a safer world for all of us – and make a safer America as 2012 and the Summer Games approach. President Obama may be paving the way for the Chicago Olympics with his visit to Denmark, but he will cement the deal only if he is able to clear the way for a safer America within his approach in Afghanistan.

Paying Attention

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quickly – a show of hands.

Who expected Iran to be transparent with the global community regarding their nuclear capabilities, especially now that the American and Iranian elections have past several months ago?


And those who continue to push for more diplomacy with rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea (when that conversation comes up again) will be in for a big surprise when the Obama Administration decides to take on another direction.

If they choose to take on another direction.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to force President Ahmadinejad to “put his money where his mouth is”, asking that Iran show its cards with this secret nuclear facility hidden away in a mountain. Of course, as it was with other world leaders throughout history, any act of disclosure that comes after a series of lies to the international community is going to be highly scrutinized.

Iran wants nuclear weapons and, of its own accord and statements, will not stop until Iran is a nuclear neighbor in the world. From there, Iranian cries calling for the destruction of Israel go from rhetorical rants to real threat on a daily basis.

This may be the point where the current administration gets a better understanding of the (sometimes misguided) approach that presidential predecessors have taken towards the Middle East. Ideally, diplomacy and cooperation would be utilized, but in reality, it’s going to be a continued approach that leverages both military might and economic pressures (i.e., sanctions) that will keep the touchy situations of the Middle East from exploding – both figuratively and literally.

In this era of terrorism, it is vital that the region’s stability be pursued with heightened priority. It is bad enough that nations such as Afghanistan have been viewed as safe havens for our enemies. However, with a nation such as Iran being able to harness the power of nuclear war in one hand and a welcoming handshake of brotherhood for extremists in the other, we stand to lose more lives in the near future. With such nations, we have to have the open hand of negotiations backed up with the heavy hand of force until these countries operate with a level of transparency that secures safety for America and her allies – as well as the rest of the global community.

Right now, there are certainly some relevant nations that are not focused on this goal and, thus, we need to deter diplomacy due to their defiance…especially if we are truly paying attention.