Can Obama Reform Health Care, Mortgages, Markets and Iran?
If you could stop all police brutality today, either in Iran or in the United States,where would you choose to bring an end to all police brutality? If you say it is more important to stop police brutality in Iran, then I am going to guess that your skin is white or pink. If you say it is more important to stop police brutality in the United States, your may be Black or Latino or you may be a white person who understands what is going on here, because Blacks and Latinos are three times more likely to report being physically brutalized by police at traffic stops than are whites.
At least five seventeen year-olds have been electrocuted to death by police in the United States this year, without the benefit of trials or even charges. At least sixty-five Americans were electrocuted by police extrajudicially and without the benefit of charges or prosecution in the United States last year.
If your skin is white or beige or pink, then what is going on in Iran today might offend your abstract preference for justice, peace, democracy or even offend your belief in the separation of church and state. If you are Black, then pre-trial extra-judicial electrocution by "tasers" and color-aroused police traffic stops in the United States and in your local community offend and threaten your own personal safety and that of your family, friends and neighbors on a daily basis.
A well-known psychologist posited a "hierarchy of needs" that starts with the need for shelter (physical safety) and ends with aesthetic concerns for beauty and the well-being of the world at large, even far removed from our own country. I believe that American whites are being distracted from the most essential needs, such as food to eat, affordable health care, keeping their homes even as interest rates on their mortgages rise and the value of their homes decline . . .
Republican elected officials are insisting that President Obama should focus more of his attention on what is going on over there, while they simultaneously insist that he has taken on too much responsibility and determination to change what is going on over here. Essentially, they believe that President Obama should prioritize demonstrations in Tehran (about which he can do little) over health care and delinquent mortgages in the United States, the solutions for which he has assumed direct responsibility.
"You've taken on too much! Now take on the leaders of Iran, in addition to resolving the US wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan!"
Republican arrogance and hubris know no bounds. When President Bush outlined an expansive world vision that included changing religous autocracies in the Middle East into secular democracies based on a US model, the Republicans in the United States cheered Bush on. In the end Bush was not able to end any of the wars he started before his eight-year term was over. Now, Republican leaders and the US media remain bullish with respect to Obama's ability and responsibility to "speak out" and effect change overseas while they simultaneously doubt the size of his ambitious agenda here in the United States.
Meanwhile, Obama's tough talk against the government in Iran has predictably enabled the Iranian Government to make Obama the issue rather than the Iranian protests. That's what happens when you listen to advice from Republicans and their news media echos.
Wise Americans will realize that the United States is in such shambles economically that only hubris and arrogance could compel us to tell others how to run their affairs beyond our borders. As between telling Iran what to do and confronting the fact that one in eight US mortgages is in default while 50 million of us lack access to health care, I think Obama should focus on the mortgages and health care over here before he goes tilting at Iranian windmills over there.
Wise Americans will realize that the photographs of US torture activities in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay are far worse than anything we've seen in the videos coming out of Iran, and all the more so because we are responsible for our governent's behavior while we are not responsible for that of Iran. The beatings in Iran have conveniently pushed the release of US torture photos off the front pages of our newspapers, and have distracted American bloggers from what they can control to what they cannot.
Yes, the Soviet Union fell under Reagan's watch, but that didn't prevent OUR current economic meltdown. To paraphrase the Bible, we need to be more concerned with the planks in our own eyes than with the splinters in someone elses.