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The Handshake Highway To Hell?

By The Reverend Published: December 11, 2013

Should we expect new oversight hearings led by Darrell Boom-Boom Issa to determine what new nefarious plot against freedom President Obama was launching when he spontaneously shared a handshake with Cuban leader, Raul Castro, aka Satan? Handshake-Gate. Has a nice ring, no?

Grandpa McGruffie McCain.... "Why should you shake hands with somebody who's keeping Americans in prison? I mean, what's the point?" "Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler," he said....

Boy Rubio.....“If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba,” Rubio said.

Florida Republican congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.....

“Sometimes a handshake is just a handshake,” the Florida congresswoman said. “But when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raúl Castro it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant. Raúl Castro uses that hand to sign orders to oppress and jail democracy activists.”

Symbolism is extremely important to conservatives and Republicans. That tic, if you will, has always seemed childish to me....a sign of insecurity and weakness. You might remember the mini-shitestorm created over Obama's improper "bowing"......

"I guess I don't mind so much when he's bowing to an American. I'm not happy about it, but bowing to foreign heads of state pegs my OH HE DID NOT meter while this just rises to 'what a buffoon'-levels of presidential misbehavior."

It seems to me that Republicans see American weakness in basic acts of etiquette....if, of course, those basic expressions of etiquette are carried out by a Democratic president. Sure, it is all about politics....but what kind of politics?

If Obama shakes the hand of the Cuban leader.....Republicans inform us that just that handshake will encourage a "propaganda coup" by the island communists. Really?

If a handshake with a two-bit island leader whose nation the U.S. could crush in a just a few minutes is a sign of weakness or capitulation to enemies....then please, someone tell me what depending on the world's most powerful communist country to produce most of our consumer products is a sign of. Are we to believe that Communist China is less of a threat to U.S. interests than the poor country of Cuba?

In the 50 years since the U.S. settled on a perpetual-punishment policy towards Cuba....how have Cuban leaders threatened the most powerful empire in world history? Further, is there any credible person who thinks Cuba is some kind of existential threat to America in 2013?

And if it is the case that our 50 year punishment of Cuba has been all for the sake of Miami-area, Cuban American voters (and the candidates they vote for)...who continually seek revenge on their former country.....what does that say about the state of Miami, or Florida, or Republican politics?

All of this reminds me of the heady days following 9-11 when tough talk was so much in fashion. Muslims, we were told, only understood violence and overwhelming force, didn't place as much value on life as exceptional Americans did, and needed to be treated thuggishly and belligerently at all times in order to "get the message." Much evil ensued.

Again, tell me, has that policy proven to be a rousing success? Aren't leaders from both sides today telling us the United States is in MORE danger from Muslim extremists now...than before 9-11?

On this topic, I think it's difficult to delineate between domestic political posturing, as I see Rubio's and the Florida congresswoman's criticism of the Obama-Castro handshake being.....and, yes, typical neo-con warmongering, as I understand Gruff McCain's criticism of Obama.

But make no mistake here.....Republicans actually translate Obama's handshake with Raul Castro as a sign of weakness....even appeasement(!).....while, I think, most Americans have enough sense to translate that handshake as a sign of confident strength.

United States leaders, as Obama has stated, should never be reluctant or afraid to talk to, or shake hands with, any leader of any country. Talking to those perceived as enemies, shaking hands with leaders of nations whose governing structures are different from ours.....is most assuredly leading from a position of confidence and strength.....not weakness.

Refusing to even shake hands or talk to foreign leaders for fear of some symbolic political ramifications is the coin of bullies, the ignorant, empty-suit panderers and people unsure of themselves.

Which leadership style accurately represents the richest and most powerful Empire the world has ever known? Confidence and fearlessness....or fear, belligerence and rudeness?

The Reverend reports....you decide.

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