Monday, December 15, 2008

If the Shoe Hits

Readers have no doubt seen the footage of a pair of shoes hurled with velocity and just missing the head of the most disastrous president in the history of the United States. In the literal physical sense, the launched soles failed to strike their target. Still, they came close enough to evoke a duck and cover response from the Fiasco-in-Chief.

Muntadhar al-Zaidi, a reporter for the TV channel Al-Baghdadia, who forcefully pitched his shoes at something "lower than the dirt beneath my feet," referred to his act as a "farewell kiss" to a "dog." Thousands of Iraqis are cheering him and demanding his release. What is not published are the large number of Americans who also cheered when they saw the footage.

In the symbolic sense, the shoes did not miss. What many know but fewer speak is the extent to which the Bush administration has been sheer failure, a bungling heap of political posturing without regard for effective government. Almost everyone knows it was a nightmare for the nation and an embarrassment for Republicans. Bush's legacy has in fact become a distinguished project. Organized efforts are underway to foster a less contemptuous interpretation of what invokes nothing short of revulsion. They even include attempts to spin a more positive image of Bush's dog, Barney.

In its own words, the administration advanced its belief that its beliefs were its highest priority. Not to be bothered with reality or facts, its views were right because it believed them, a dangerous and arrogant perversion of faith in oneself. Confidence and courage only make sense when grounded by the awareness of one's limitations and fallibility. Bush represents the antithesis of awareness. He boasted of his pride in the fact that none of his beliefs changed during his presidency. What mind can be so closed that eight years in the White House has no impact on a single conviction?

I don't know if al-Zaidi's shoes were returned to him.

They'd fetch a chunk of change on E-bay.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sad that an American could feel this way. Move to Iraq. It sounds like you have more in common with this reporter than an American.

12/16/2008 8:31 AM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

Heh. Many, many Americans feel this way ... that doesn't make us anti-American. It does make us Americans who disagree adamantly with the outgoing administration.

Having complete, utter faith in your convictions is not a strength when one insists on making bad decision after bad decision. Sooner or later most people would at least reconsider some of their underlying position that led them to such failures ... our outgoing President takes pride in the fact he refused to do so.

12/16/2008 9:18 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

X4mr sometimes refers to the Greeks who believed, in the words of Bill Maher, "the people are too stupid for democracy."

What is sad is that the American system allowed a corrupt, greedy, arrogant, self-serving and morally bankrupt political party to anoint an incompetent personification of failure as president.

The good news is that America elected competence in 2008. We will need it. The Bush travesty has inflicted massive damage to United States on every issue. His malignant scum has spoiled almost everything.

Almost. God help Barack Obama and God help us. We will need all the help we can get to undo the damage of this abomination.

12/16/2008 10:30 AM  
Blogger Casey DeLorme, APR said...

One of the most fascinating aspects of this episode is that it’s further evidence of “globalization”. It’s no longer a debate. We ARE global.

Part of this is spurred by technology (the fact we even get to see this reveals that... think it would have showed up on the networks a few years ago?) We get our news instantly now. Unfiltered. We get to pick and choose what we want to see and how we see it. That this video is such a hit is revealing. The entire word is heckling. Want to see more, there’s a great compilation of “mashups” parodying this video. It becomes a video game, a dodgeball... W even gets to become Neo from The Matrix. Nice reflexes.

There’s a great presentation about this effect (the unfiltered online media, not W’s reflexes) from the Ted conference. The speaker’s premise is that the 2005 Indonesian tsunami is when online technology became such that the world sidestepped the traditional media and did its own reporting. (http://tinyurl.com/social-tsunami)

Obama’s election was the first demonstration of the common-man power at the U.S. presidential level. Echoes of how JFK successfully embraced television (a new-ish medium then) to

The economic downturn is going to show us a few more tricks. Forget the dot-com boom, it’s a major change in the world economy... and we’re going to really show ourselves what online tools can do. As in, we’re going to re-write what a workforce looks like. I predict something like the “Hollywood model”. (http://tinyurl.com/hollywood-model for details).

Speaking of the economy, there’s another major reveal showing us globalization is already here. Your mortgage was repackaged into the hot potato that a bank in Switzerland got stuck with. A downturn in U.S. consumer spending means there’s a factory glut in China.

Take a look at how well Al Qaeda has exploited a loose network and online technology to further their cause. They’re everywhere. We all know their names... even the ones we can’t pronounce. But they used real death, destruction, and mayhem to accomplish this.

This guy threw his shoes at a lame duck. One who, though still in office for a few more weeks, is being completely overshadowed by his successor. But also one who represents the “world’s one remaining superpower”. That this became such a big deal is important. It’s important internationally.

I’m as much a patriot as the next U.S. citizen. However, like our SED host and most of the crowd who frequents this blog, I believe that being a patriot includes exercising the right to comment on, critique, and debate the policies and actions of our leaders. In fact, i’ll put that forth as a requirement of patriotism. Anyone in our armed forces will proudly tell you this is one of the elements of freedom they defend. We celebrate them for that. It’s a hard-won right that requires constant vigilance.

But with it comes responsibility.

No more “cowboy” mentality. We’re part of the world. That’s not just talk. The world gets to debate and discuss right along with us. Obama knows this. It’s why he made the European visits earlier this year.
Our president isn’t just our president, he’s a world leader.

The world’s listening. We affect them. They affect us. Our actions as of late have been all aggression and very little diplomacy. The rest of the world is telling us... always has. But now we, as citizens, can skip our own filtered mass media and hear it. Participate. If we do some of our own listening, we might just learn a thing or two. We need to participate in the conversation.

If not, expect more shoes.

12/16/2008 1:29 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Great comment, Casey.

This shoe thing has really caught on. Like x4mr said, symbolically the shoes hit the target spot on.

It is a perfect ending to his presidency. That's why it resonates so well. The image captures what the whole world (minus the Limbaugh freaks) is feeling.

12/16/2008 2:35 PM  
Blogger TexPatriate said...

Hi.

Not a Limbaugh freak here, but. . . I take serious issue with the fact that folks here seem to think that it is a good idea that this gentleman from another country is applauded for throwing shoes (a serious insult) at a person, who for all his faults, STILL represents the American presidency.

Hate Bush all you want to -- I continue to see this act as a tremendous measure of disrespect for both the nation's highest officer and. . . quite frankly, for our nation.

I sincerely hope that Obama turns out to be the Messiah that you all hope for.

Flame on.

12/16/2008 3:11 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Sorry, Texpat, but we'll have to agree to disagree.

Bush stopped representing the presidency and the nation a long time ago. He is a disgrace to himself, the country, and the office. Only systemic flaws and weaknesses prevented his impeachment, imprisonment, and quite possibly execution for treason and crimes against humanity.

He has blatantly violated the constitution he took an oath to protect and defend. Sadly, he will get away with everything, from the malicious outing of a CIA agent to the suspension of habeas corpus and the 4th amendment to torture to the illegal hiring practices in the justice department as well as firing (remember those attorneys). Of course, we also have Rove's illegal prosecution of an innocent governor.

Place yourself in Germany 1937. Yeah, heavy handed on my part, but it points to a question that is anything but trivial. As the acknowledged leader descends, at what point does one sever loyalty and service?

Obama is not a Messiah, but he is intelligent, informed, and committed to the well being of the country, not just his rich pals.

History may prove me wrong, but I think we are about to witness a contrast in leadership that will go down in the books as unprecedented.

12/16/2008 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

I heard that some rich sheik has already purchased one of the shoes for a large sum. No word on the other shoe.

12/16/2008 7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What might happen.

12/16/2008 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Dustin said...

Hell yeah that was disrespectful. I think we should invade all over again and bomb the shit out of them some more. Time for some more shock and awe.

Seriously, is anyone really surprised?

12/17/2008 5:39 AM  
Blogger Casey DeLorme, APR said...

Because you'll enjoy... http://img253.imageshack.us/img253/49/053picsyy3.jpg

12/21/2008 3:21 PM  
Blogger Zelph said...

I heard that some rich sheik has already purchased one of the shoes for a large sum.

Just goes to show: There's no business like shoe business.

12/28/2008 8:45 PM  

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