Friday, February 06, 2015

Here's Why Nothing Unique from the President at National Prayer Breakfast

On the morning two days after the world learned of film showing a Jordanian pilot being set on fire, alive, by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), President Obama informed National Prayer Breakfast attendees in Washington, DC: “Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place..." (full quote here). 

Let's look at the imagery of "on a high horse":

"The combination of ...
being high off the ground when mounted on a great war charger,
looking down one's nose at the common herd, 
and also being a holder of high office
 made it intuitive for the term 'on one's high horse' 
to come to mean 'superior and untouchable'."

I try to imagine General George Washington--born in Virginia colony, subject of England's King George III and military leader of the colonies' revolt against the king--on one of his high horses (perhaps Nelson or Blueskin) announcing that royal over-reach was "not unique."

If the U.S. President, Barack Obama, had been president in 1939 or 1940, would German Christian pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer have been reminded that Hitler's regime was "not unique"?

If the president had been in office when Pearl Harbor was bombed by followers of the "sun god," would he have noted that surprise attacks were "not unique"?

The wrongs the president outlined (including slavery) have been bravely fought against to the point of shedding of blood and loss of life, ultimately winning abolition in the western world. (Meanwhile, anti-Jewish sentiment rises in Europe and on U. S. university campuses, as presented in this report.)

The president's "high horse" comments have already diverted attention (hence this post) from crises at hand, where a large portion of the world is increasingly threatened by ISIS/ISIL and others beyond Iraq and Syria. Yemen recently fell to ISIS, whose self-published goal is the destruction of all "infidels" (non-extremist Muslims included).

The president made a factual point: Savagery by any name is not unique among evils and sins in the world. Yet, he did not take call out the present savagery and state firm intent to rid the earth of its terrors for this and future generations. ISIS--and other terrorists shouting "'Allahu Akbar'...a jihadist war cry dating from its declaration by Islam’s prophet Muhammad when he made an aggressive proto-jihadist foray on the Jews of the Khaybar oasis"--does not hold back. Neither should the United States and other civilized nations with different power standards.

President Obama reportedly readies himself to approach another powerful high horse, the U. S. Congress, regarding new military actions. 

This topic gets "curiouser and curiouser." And yet there is nothing unique about powerful leaders that rely upon delay, finding it extremely difficult to face the import of what is happening not only far away but at home. I would not want to be on the president's horse, yet it is the one he wanted. Similarly, congressional members fought for their high positions. The big choices are never easy for those in whom historic decision powers reside.

No comments:

Post a Comment