Monday, November 16, 2009

Obama Bows to Foreign Crowns

So far, President Obama has bowed twice before foreign heads of state--both of them kings.

The headlines read that specifically conservatives are upset at this. But why should indignation be the reserve of conservatives on this point? I can see how liberals should be at least torn over it. On the one hand they value being culturally sensitive. If it is customary in Japan to bow before the Emperor, they believe the President should avoid offense (except to Americans) and bow. On the other hand, they are egalitarians. Why should one human being bow before another, especially in a political content like this?

For the President personally, there is another consideration. Though he is not descended from slaves, those who are look to him as representing them in a special way. Slaves in America had to bow before masters. The journey up from slavery, Jim Crow, and social subordination in general has been a long, bloody, humiliating, but gloriously triumphant one. For our first black President to distinguish himself as the President who bowed to foreign masters is a disgraceful dereliction of duty, both political and moral.

Here is his bow to the Saudi king. Perhaps he just wants to bring back bowing to heads of state among Americans.

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