Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Presidential Decorum

In my perusing of the blogroll, I've noticed a lot of posts hammering President Obama (and his wife) for his gaffes over in Europe. The big ones being flung outare the patting of the Queen, the Queen's Ipod (with Obama speeches), and the bowing to the Saudi king. And of course, the left drags up every real or imagined gaffe that President Bush ever had.

I don't give a shit either way, for a very good reason. I can think of another president that was miserable in foreign meets and greets.

He pissed off the French, offended the Dutch, disgusted the English. And he ended up getting elected President. And managed to anger both, but avoided starting a war.

That was John Adams. He was wholly unsuited to flattering foreign dignitaries, and doing it for a country with no presige at the time.

Something I've noticed that we forget is that every president has his own foibles, his own style, and is a human being, with all the glitches conceivable. In that respect, Obama is doing just as miserably and just as well as Bush.

I'll reserve judgment until I see whether his style of diplomacy produces actual results, and not just feel-good shit on the left and howls of outrage on the right.

However, questions on his statements, including the perception that he's giving our sovereignty on domestic issues to the UN, are wholly legit. But I'll expand on that another time.

And as for the near-sexual relationship between the POTUS and the TOTUS....

I'm thinking a Clinton reference may be in order.

27 comments:

James Wolfer said...

Patrick, I'd like your opinion on something I saw on a right-wing blog.

This blogger is pissed that Obama said we are not a Christian nation, or a Muslim, or a blah blah.

I pointed out that we aren't, and never were.

We were founded on Masonic principles.

What would you say to someone hammering Obama for pointing out that we aren't a nation of one religion or another. We are simply a nation that allows all faiths.

Arthurstone said...

Your fixation on TOTUS puts you in rather nasty company Patrick. The endlessly reactionary, tiny- minded Michelle Malkin has her knickers wrapped around her chain on this non-story.

Dave Miller said...

Patrick, it is always good to wait for results before hammering someone.

Too bad many on the right don't understand this, as many on the left didn't.

Patrick M said...

JW: Actually, we are based very much on the Judeo-Christian ethic. However, that's why the Constitution specifically protects the freedom of religion, and bars government from establishing one.

So in one way, I can agree with Obama's statement, although he leaves out the good things we got from our roots.

And masonic principles also happen to draw from the same ethic.

Arthur: Actually, I just put TOTUS in the same category as Bushisms and any joke involving Clinton's pecker. It's more fun than writing paragraphs where every other word is either uh or um.

Dave: That's not to say I don't have my surspicions what's going to happen. But maybe Obama will grow as a president.

Shaw Kenawe said...

When you say that "...we are based very much on the Judeo-Christian ethic." What do you mean?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And we're NOT a Christian nation. I'm only one of millions of non-Christians who live here. Does that make me some kind of resident alien (no damn jokes, Patrick) or only partially American or something?

This country was built by people of ALL faiths. I refute this prevalent mentality that somehow everything good or whatever in this country was done by a Christian according to Christian principles, for two reasons. One, not everything was. Two, the basic moral tenets of 99% of established religions are identical. Christianity doesn't have some exclusive claim to them. It's not the only religion to expound on them, and certainly, by a very long shot, not the first one.

Shaw Kenawe said...

To add to Saty's comment, the Consstitution is not based on Christian laws, or the Ten Commandments.

And I wouldn't be bragging too much about the country being based very much on Judeo-Christian ethic, if that ethic included the shameful treatment by the early settlers of the native populations, and the subsequent near genocide commited against them.

And then there's that most unChristian institution of all, slavery...

Gayle said...

I wanted to give Obama a "chance" too, Patrick, but I truly don't like all the socialist programs he's trying to pass, especially socialized medicine. Neither did I appreciate his statement that we aren't a Christian nation. "In God We Trust" is even on our currency, although it wouldn't be if a whole lot of people had their way. Besides, in America 76.5% (159 million) of Americans identify themselves as Christians. That's a majority. So Obama is wrong in his statement, and it quite naturally angers a lot of Christians, not all of them Republicans. I know several Democrats personally who are angrier about the statement than I am! Two of them have recently lost their job though, so right now they aren't happy with the government to begin with.

James Wolfer said...

Gayle:

Just because a majority exists in the US doesn't make us a Christian nation. Majority doesn't make us who we are.

That's like saying that since the majority of people in the US are caucasians, then we are a white nation.

James Wolfer said...

What he actually said was
"I’ve said before that one of the great strengths of the United States is – although as I mentioned we have a very large Christian population – we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

Shaw Kenawe said...

There are several interpretation of who or what "god" is. Many religions believe in a god, so "In God We Trust" speaks to all religions that worship a god, not just the Christian god, otherwise our coins would say "In Jesus Christ We Trust."

We are NOT a Christian nation. We are a nation of many religions, and, gasp! many nonbelievers.

This is why a lot of us love the ideal of America, we all belong, believers AND nonbelievers, and we're all equal under the law.

Dave Miller said...

Great points Shaw.

James, your point on the majority, I hope is well taken.

On the Christian nation front, I am currently reading "Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America" by Steve Waldman.

For anyone interested in a good, historical, and pretty balanced look at our nations early religious beginnings, this is a great read.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

If we are a "Christian nation", as Gayle professes, where does that place the many millions of non-Christian American citizens? Merely tolerated? Protected by the law, but otherwise not 'real' Americans? Some sort of red-headed stepchildren or poor relations that live on the edge of the estate? How, as a member of this "Christian nation", do you perceive these millions who don't claim Christianity, Gayle? And how to do you reconcile that perception with not only your Christianity, but also the equality mandated by our nation?


Here are some thoughts from our founding fathers on the subject of religion:

“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions…therefore the
proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an
incapacity of being called to the offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or
renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges
and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right.”
--Jefferson’s “Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom,”
Adopted January 1786

“The poor Quakers were flying from persecution in England. They cast their eyes on
these new countries as asylums of civil and religious freedom; but they found them free
only for the reigning sect.”
--Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-1785


“Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion…. Let us reflect that [the world] is
inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand
different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand.”
--Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781 – 1785

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

I believe the equality of man, and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

But, lest it should be supposed that I believe many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.- Thomas Paine, Age of Reason


he Reverend Bird Wilson, an Episcopal minister in Albany, New York, preached a sermon in October 1831 in which he stated that "among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism" (Paul F. Boller, George Washington & Religion, pp. 14-15). He went on to describe Washington as a "great and good man" but "not a professor of religion." Wilson said that he was "really a typical eighteenth century Deist, not a Christian, in his religious outlook" (Ibid.). Wilson wasn't just speaking about matters that he had not researched, because he had carefully investigated his subject before he preached this sermon. Among others, Wilson had inquired of the Reverend Abercrombie [identified earlier as the rector of the church Washington had attended] concerning Washing ton's religious views. Abercrombie's response was brief and to the point "Sir, Washington was a Deist" (Remsberg, p. 110). Those, then, who were best positioned to know Washington's private religious beliefs did not consider him a Christian, and the Reverend Abercrombie, who knew him personally and pastored the church he attended with his wife flatly said that Washington was a Deist.

The Reverend Bird Wilson, who was just a few years removed from being a contemporary of the so-called founding fathers, said further in the above-mentioned sermon that "the founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity."

Toad734 said...

Well, he is doing better in the sense that they like him and he comes asking not telling. That and he has better policies/ideas.

I don't think anyone will be throwing their shoes at Obama. Besides Rush of course. That or one of his extra Cheese Burgers.

BB-Idaho said...

A slight mid-course adjustment in diplomacy from the school of "Hit them in the face and ask them to kiss your butt" foreign policy the Europeans had been used to.....

Patrick M said...

Damn, my original comment was lost. Again. Oh well.

Shaw: When you say that "...we are based very much on the Judeo-Christian ethic." What do you mean?

I mean that the viewpoint of almost every Founding Father was one rested firmly in some version of a Christian faith. This is something that influenced all of them, enabling them to take the relevant items and incorporate them into the documents. And they made a thoroughly secular Constitution in the process.

Saty: I would say that we could be said to have been one, not by law, but by tradition. Obviously, this has changed.

Oh, and don't get me started on Jefferson.

Toad: Rush would never throw a cheeseburger. He get's the GOOD burgers. I know because I can't afford them (even if I wasn't a cheap bastard).

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I had a feeling that this part of the equation would be ignored:

If we are a "Christian nation", as Gayle professes, where does that place the many millions of non-Christian American citizens? Merely tolerated? Protected by the law, but otherwise not 'real' Americans? Some sort of red-headed stepchildren or poor relations that live on the edge of the estate?

That's what I want an answer to.

Shaw Kenawe said...

We are NOT a Christian nation:


In his, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788], John Adams wrote:

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.

". . . Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind."

Very cleary stated, the U.S. is not founded on any religious principles or in accordance with any god. It can't be any clearer than that, and it is stated by OUR FOUNDING FATHERS.


And finally, the Treaty of Tripoli [google it]:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Waiting, sweetheart... waiting.

James Wolfer said...

Sorry to take over your post, just thought I'd get your opinion since you're a (sane) right-winger. I thought it was semi-relevant since it was something he said while in Europe.

On your actual post, I keep seeing right-wingers FLIP out because Obama said this or did that is "apologizing" for the US...

What do you make of some of those things?

Patrick M said...

Shaw: Who am I to argue with Mr Adams?

Related side note: I was watching the miniseries again, and I know when I'm outmatched. :)

But I stand by my comments.

Saty: That's Gayle's question, you know. So I'll let her answer it.

JW: Some of it is standard opposition nitpicking, but some is based on the concern that Obama's actions are showing weakness to a world that wants the US weak. My post on the North Korean missile explains this real problem with Obama's actions.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

I'm still waiting.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

See, here's the problem right here.

You get someone putting up a comment like this:

Neither did I appreciate his statement that we aren't a Christian nation. "In God We Trust" is even on our currency, although it wouldn't be if a whole lot of people had their way. Besides, in America 76.5% (159 million) of Americans identify themselves as Christians. That's a majority. So Obama is wrong in his statement, and it quite naturally angers a lot of Christians, not all of them Republicans.

and then when someone else asks

where does that place the many millions of non-Christian American citizens? Merely tolerated? Protected by the law, but otherwise not 'real' Americans? Some sort of red-headed stepchildren or poor relations that live on the edge of the estate?

no answer is forthcoming.

That's chickenshit, but the bigger question is why? Why is there this vigorous declaration and then no answer to the obvious question?

Because there is no answer. There's no way to answer it that doesn't prove the person's not a bigot. There's no way to answer it and still claim to be living according to Christian principles.

It's a chickenshit, bullshit tactic that people who have big hairy opinions love to use. They have a great headline but no substance. It's inflammatory, bullshit propaganda. It incites the rest of the ignorant to parrot these words and go right on believing that they're walking in Jesus' footsteps and being the reddest of the red white and blue, when actually what you're seeing is a sanitized, socially-acceptable-in-the-right-circles way to promulgate bigotry and prejudice against those people who aren't like you.

It's cowardly. If someone wants to be all big and bad and throw out these statements they should at the least have some big bad balls to back it up.

Especially here.

Gayle said...

James, Shaw, Dave, when they take "In God we trust" off of our currency, then I will believe we aren't a Christian nation.

Satyavati, I'm not chicken----, as you claim. I am a very busy person. Other than my own, I very rarely return to a post I've already commented on. You also have a filthy mouth, girl. You sound like you have a fascination with human and bull excrement. Whatever you think, neither am I trying to promulgate bigotry or prejudice, nor do I go around the internet making up things about other people like you do. You really do need to clean up your act! There are two reasons why I don't feel like answering your ranting lunacy. One is the fact that you are so rude and the other is because your opinion doesn't matter to me. I will answer it anyway, but from now on I will completely ignore you until you grow up. I would have come back in sooner if I had known you were going to spit hairballs over my comment.

I say we are a Christian nation because of majority rule. We are now ruled by Democrats because of that same rule. Of course that doesn't mean that everyone is a Christian, nor does it mean that we are all Democrats. When a time comes where the majority of Americans aren't Christians, then we will no longer be a Christian nation. Pretty basic stuff if you use just a modicum of common sense. But I do realize that's too much to ask for.

That's my last word on the subject. Now you can go ahead spouting your vile anger against me. I truly don't care. Have a wonderful time! :)

Shaw Kenawe said...

Poor Gayle,

Tripped herself up on her own skewed logic: "I say we are a Christian nation because of majority rule."

Christians don't "rule" in this country. People who happen to be Christian govern on statewide and national levels. But nowhere on any ballot does a person who runs for office have his religious denomination noted.

And by your own skewed logic, we are now a Democratic Party nation. In that case, you are correct. The Democrats are the majority in Congress. But no one calls this country a Democratic Party Nation, even though the Democrats control the White House and Congress.

We are Americans who are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc. and who are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.

There is no Christian Majority Rule. Our laws are not promulgated on religious rules and prohibitions.

Patrick M said...

Gayle: [addressing Satyavati] You also have a filthy mouth, girl. You sound like you have a fascination with human and bull excrement.

Two points: First, what does that mean about my excessive use of more colorful language. And second, excremet is a dinner table subject at my family's meals sometimes (to the utter dread of my mother). What does that say about me? :)

Seriously, though, I do take issue with the idea of majority rule. now you could say we are a predominantly Christian nation and be ok (as it denotes a clear majority is (which may be questionable)). But the idea that the majority decides the direction of our country can be dangerous (as you have indicated with the Obama presidency).

The Constitution and the amendments are there to protect the rights of the minority from the democratic mob rule.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

You also have a filthy mouth, girl.

Does this apply only to me? I hadn't noticed you being offended by Patrick's language, which in comparison makes mine moot.. but maybe it was just because you were taking it all so personally.

What I do know is that the truth does tend to sting a bit, and that there wasn't any 'ranting lunacy' in anything I wrote.

But let's get to the point: my question never really did get answered, did it?

where does that place the many millions of non-Christian American citizens? Merely tolerated? Protected by the law, but otherwise not 'real' Americans? Some sort of red-headed stepchildren or poor relations that live on the edge of the estate?

I say we are a Christian nation because of majority rule.

So, thank you for proving my point. Big inflammatory statements slamming me, my PG13 language, saying I go around making up things(?) about people, and calling it all 'ranting lunacy'.. just all distractions from the non-answer that was forthcoming. Because there really is no way to answer it without revealing the bigotry and prejudice behind it.

This is a tactic that is used in many situations by many people to put across a hotbutton without the work of having to actually back it up.

There you go.