Remember Obama's Nowruz greetings to Iran earlier this month ("the fact that we are now talking to each other on a regular basis, for the first time in decades, gives us an opportunity, a window, to resolve other issues")? Well, if Obama thinks that Iran changed its tune as a consequence of his message (in February, tens of thousands of persons chanted "Death to America! in Tehran's Azadi Square to celebrate the 1979 Islamic Revolution)," he is mistaken. Supreme Leader Khamenei told Iranians on the first day of the Persian New Year that America is moving "in a bid to be able to reinstate their previous hegemony."
And then there was Obama's trip to Cuba and his clowning at a baseball game in Havana while Brussels burned. Did Obama's visit alter anything? Not a chance. As soon as Obama left the island, Fidel Castro wrote:
"[W]e don't need the empire to give us any presents.
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Obama gave a speech in which he used the most syrupy words.
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Nobody has any illusion that the people of this noble and selfless country will surrender glory and rights and the spiritual wealth that has come through the development of education, science and culture."
Ouch, that stings! Obama obviously can turn the other cheek, but he can't walk on water. Obviously, there will be no miracle of transformation, i.e. the turning of despots into humanitarians.
All of which brings me to David Brooks's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Sexual Politics of 2016" in which he tells us of a "great redefinition of masculinity" . . . until along came Donald Trump. Brooks writes:
"Today’s ideal man honors the women in his life in whatever they want to do. He treats them with respect in the workplace and romance in the bedroom. He is successful in the competitive world of the marketplace but enthusiastic in the kitchen and gentle during kids’ bath time.
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Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a revolution in manners, a rejection of the civility codes of the educated class. As part of this, he rejects the new and balanced masculine/feminine ideal that has emerged over the past generation. Trump embraces a masculine identity — old in some ways, new in others — built upon unvarnished misogyny.
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Trump represents the spread of something brutal. He takes economic anxiety and turns it into sexual hostility. He effectively tells men: You may be struggling, but at least you’re better than women, Mexicans and Muslims."
I agree with David; however, I would go a step further: Trump represents the anti-Obama. Whereas Obama is quick to turn the other cheek, Trump refuses to apologize. Whereas Obama surrounded himself with female advisers and heads of department, Trump demeans women.
"But in the realm of cultural politics, Trump voters do need to be held to account. They are participating in a descent into darkness. They are supporting a degrading wrong. This is the world your daughters are going to grow up in."
Again, I agree with David, but there can be no denying that the rise of Trump is a direct consequence of a "progressive," i.e. far-left, Obama presidency, which left middle-class white men in the lurch, with increasing numbers opting for suicide. Remember how Obama once said, back in 2007, that he could "bring the country together"? It didn't happen, and we are now observing the backlash.