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Perception is Reality in the Eyes of the Beholder!Bob Collinsworth Salem-News.com
While our leaders tell a good story about defending the defenseless, they support those who practice evil against the very same defenseless.
(HARRISVILLE, NH) - As one of what I believe is the vast majority of United States citizens who view all of the citizens of the world as brothers and sisters, it bothers me that we are perceived as a war mongering country with little (if any) sensitivity for the non-combatant, peaceful men, women, and children of the world. What bothers me even more are our actions or lack of actions that spawn this perception.
There seems to be a lack of balance and sincerity in those that have governed during my lifetime. This lack of balance and sincerity is well known to the rest of the world and to those U.S. citizens (like me) who have learned to distrust the underhandedness generated by our current political system and the greed it can bring to the surface. Sometimes this lack of balance and/or sincerity is purely unintentional as I believe was the case with President Carter. Jimmy Carter was and is a very sincere individual.
I might say that he was probably the single most sincere President in my lifetime. He was a Peacemaker first and foremost and I believe that his leanings toward Peacemaking were not for personal gain or notoriety but for the good of the world. Yet, I also believe that his single pronged approach led some to perceive us as weak and unwilling to defend that which needed defending . . . a possible result of a less than balanced approach toward establishing a national persona.
The polar opposite of President Carter was President George W. Bush. While I believe that his response to the events of 9/11 was appropriate, it too was carried way too far. The perception that resulted was that we were an overly aggressive nation bordering on (if not wholly immersed in) war mongering and colonialism. Again, the lack of balance resulted in a perception most of us were not at all happy with and were embarrassed by (to say the least).
Some of this imbalance and/or lack of sincerity can be attributed to the individual’s character, some to their failure to select and install a balanced cabinet and advisors, and certainly some can be attributed to a painful (if not criminal) lack of experience brought to the position by the individual and the voters who elected them. Regardless of the source of this imbalance, the result is the same... a skewed perception of us as a people and negative reactions generated as a direct result of that skewed perception.
OK, so what would be a workable perception that we, as a country, should strive for, you might ask. Well, in my mind, it is of a friendly neighbor and/or loving brother who approaches you with food and shelter in either hand, a loaded gun on his hip, and a sign around his neck that establishes the desire to work with what is in his hands first but the willingness to use what is carried on his hip when necessity calls for it.
Another thing that promotes a negative perception of us is our obvious willingness to support countries and governments who promote and/or support crimes against humanity. Crimes such as we have witnessed taking place in Sri Lanka and Palestine... crimes so evil that it injures the very soul to even view photos of the aftermath. There are two old sayings that currently fit where we are as a country: “You can’t judge a book by its cover” and “You can tell a great deal about an individual by the company they keep”. While our leaders tell a good story about defending the defenseless, they support those who practice evil against the very same defenseless. So, the perception is that the cover of our book belies the content of our national character... at least of the national character practiced by our current leadership. The company we keep (and support) also speaks to the real content of our book. It is within our power to lean much more heavily on countries who would willingly commit war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity and that is exactly what we should be doing if we ever hope to improve the perception we give to the world. We should be doing this not only to improve the perception we give but because it is right to do so!
Once again I say that each and every U.S. citizen should focus on viewing the actions of our supposed leaders rather than listening to their carefully contrives words. We should inundate them with feedback based on what we see. If nothing else, our current leaders are verbose. So much so that the truth becomes convoluted and camouflaged within the weighty pages of their messages. I am suggesting nothing more than each of us do our own review and analysis. Leave behind the laziness that leads us to simply believe what we are told rather than spend the time and energy of do our own research. Our future and that of our children, grandchildren, and the world depends on it... but, that is just my opinion!
Writer Robert Collinsworth is an American who isn't hesitant to talk about the good side of his country, and that is a welcome thing in this day and age. Salem-News.com admittedly, is very critical of both American politics, as well as those of other nations that we perceive is being wrong in their motives and actions. At the same time, within these structures we criticize, are many outstanding people who make each day a better place for all those around them. They embody and personify the American spirit that is sometimes fleeting, but always present.
These are some of the things Robert takes into account when writing commentary that is designed reach people, to "get them thinking" in his words, and indeed it does. Salem-News.com's goal is for all people to be on the same page, we appreciate Bob's more conservative approach toward that same goal."
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