“Sometimes I think that a parody of democracy could be more dangerous than a blatant dictatorship, because that gives people an opportunity to avoid doing anything about it.” – Aung San Suu Kyi
We like to live in a perfect, insular bubble. Inside our bubble, we have everything we want: food, homes, jobs, friends, family, and a country of which we can be proud. We can see through the bubble to the outside, but our image of the rest of the world is warped. Because of what we have, we can’t often conjure up the empathy necessary to understand what others do not have. We’ve become immunized to reality.
Much of the rest of the world is not so lucky as we are. They live under despots, in cages, without food, without friends, without family. These basic things to which we are accustomed are taken from these people by force. If any one of them has a revolutionary spark to light, it is quickly and quietly snuffed out. Their national flags are drenched in their own blood. They live in continuous fear of their own government, unable to decry the horror which they observe on a daily basis. I say these things to prepare you for the point of this article.
During the Nelson Mandela funeral, Obama walked a path that led him right to Raul Castro. Upon running into Castro, Obama proceeded to reach out and shake his hand. Obama shook the hand of a dictator. Rightfully, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida—who herself escaped Cuba at a young age—took Obama to task regarding the handshake. To paraphrase, she said that while sometimes a handshake is just a handshake, the Obama-Castro handshake was much more.
Obama happily greeted a man who has detained thousands upon thousands of his own citizens, and spread violence like a virus across Cuba. This is groundbreaking in the worst way possible. Castro will certainly use the handshake as a propaganda tool to oppress the people of Cuba even further. In a dictatorship, propaganda is the most powerful weapon. It is more powerful than torture. Giving people hope keeps them constrained.
Moreover, by shaking hands with Castro, Obama has spit in the faces of all the Cuban dissidents who have been imprisoned and killed under the rule of the dictator. Obama has—with a single gesture—smeared blood on our country.
Whether you believe the handshake was just a spur of the moment accident, or a planned event, the end result is terrible. Either our president is grossly ignorant, or he has intentionally marred the image of our country, a country with a base principle of freedom. The media will tell you that this was no big deal. Don’t believe it.
Thus continues Obama’s parade of failure.