"The memory of evil will serve as a shield against evil;
...the memory of death will serve as a shield against death."
- Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate 1986
I was watching FoxNews after Obama's UN speech and Dick Morris was the interviewee. While we all know that Obama has made numerous mistakes to historical references in his various speeches over these agonizing months, Morris made a comment that struck me as one of the most insightful lessons of history that has been completely overlooked by Obama and his advisors. Morris said,
"Ever since Mein Kampf, you have to take these guys seriously."
It is customary for Jews to repeat the phrases "Never forget" and "Never again," and in so doing, we take great comfort that the world is in agreement. The horrors of the Holocaust are so utterly brutal and inhuman that civilized people in the year 2009 cannot imagine such atrocities ever occurring again. And yet they have and they do. Human rights violations and mass murder have occurred on horrific scales since the end of World War II in places like Cambodia, Sudan and Iraq to name a few. It would be easy to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the fact that evil dictators such as Hitler, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein exist in the world, but that simply would not be realistic.
And so the question becomes, what do we, as humane and compassionate people do? What do we, as Americans who have been educated and taught about the world's carnage and immorality do not only to protect our citizens, but also our fellow human beings?
One thing for certain is that we do not forget that evil exists. We do not stand up in front of the United Nations General Assembly, before some of the globe's most vile and depraved tyrants, and sing "Imagine," "Kumbaya" and "Why Can't We Be Friends." America holds a special place in the world and with that comes responsibility. We are not the world's policemen. But we certainly should take our rightful place as leader of the free world and let the planet's despots who declare that the Holocaust is a fabrication and announce their intent to wipe Israel off of the map know that we take them seriously and they and their hateful speech will not be tolerated.
Much has been written about what motivates Barack Obama. Some suggest he is simply naïve; others suggest he is pure evil. Some look to his socialist upbringing and his narcissistic personality. Still others believe him to be a "Manchurian Candidate," placed here by a foreign enemy determined to bring our country down.
The one obvious and consistent feature self-evident in speech after speech comprising his world apology tour is Obama's disdain for America. Obama stands with the world's evil-doers in rejecting American exceptionalism. If there was a question about Obama's love of his country, the disparaging remarks on Wednesday about the country he was elected to lead confirm his scorn. There was no mention of the good that American men and women have done for the people of the world in the 20th and 21st centuries. There was no mention of the soldiers that have fought, been maimed, and died on battlefields across the globe so that people could be free of dictators the likes of which sat in the General Assembly and applauded for Obama. There was no mention of the financial support, the humanitarian aid, or the work of various American not-for-profits that exist solely to help individuals less fortunate the world over. And of course, there was no mention of the international AIDS-fighting campaign launched under George W. Bush, Obama's predecessor who received the biggest bashing in his speech.
But notwithstanding Obama's motives for reaching out to the dictators of the world, Americans must take note of the fact that the lessons of history and basic understanding of human nature teach that irrational megalomaniacs cannot be reasoned with. No matter how articulate America's president, his Messiah-like aura will not turn evil into good, the devil into an angel.
I remember the days of being a free-spirited hippie, hanging out at concerts and singing Bob Dylan, CSNY, and John Lennon songs. Those were the days, for I had not a care in the world. I am happy to say that I have since grown up. I have read books, watched films, and looked at horrific pictures, travelled to third world countries, and studied history. I no longer have an idealistic view of the world as I raise three Jewish children in a country now run by an apparent Arab-loving, tyrant-loving President. These are scary times and when a psychopath dictator the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces to the world that he intends to blow up Israel, I believe him.
I cannot figure out why our President does not believe him (or is not concerned), but I do not care why he ignores these threats and makes nice to this man. I care that I have family and friends in Israel (although I consider every Jewish person living in the State of Israel my family). I care that when Iran is done wiping Israel off the face of the map, it will turn to Europe and the United States. I care that America's President has no idea what he is doing and his ignorance will result in the loss of lives on a scale not seen since World War II.
I used to enjoy watching Star Trek. While conceived in the idealistic days of the late 1960's, the series became popular again in the late 1980's and has remained popular. The message has never changed. Good versus evil with good always winning no matter who the enemy - the Klingons, Romulans, or Borg. I imagine liberals watching the show take notice of the diversity of the crew on the starship; diversity the result of a planetary war ending in one global, socialistic society at peace. However, when I watch the show, I notice the fact that there is always a tyrannical leader of an evil society from a far away planet. And ultimately, the evil society is defeated with the use of force.
This is not very different from our world today. And it does not take a student of history (or Star Trek) to understand this. One would imagine that an undergraduate degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard would be enough to educate an individual about the evils in the world which will not disappear in our lifetime; but apparently not.
Over the summer, Obama's advisors prepared a nice, politically correct reading list for the President. Despite its staggering popularity the world over, including the Mideast, Mein Kampf was not on Obama's list. I wonder if he has read that autobiography or if he has read history books detailing the lead up to wars of the last century. We know he has read literature detailing the take over of power, the implementation of socialist policy, and the elimination of individual success. If we wait until next summer for Obama's reading list to include the lessons necessary to address today's evil, it may be too late. One can only hope and pray that he and the citizens of Israel and America do not pay a heavy price for his belated education.