The Handshake That Shook the World

April 20, 2009  
Filed under Pastiche

“Photographs released by the Venezuelan government showed Chavez, a fierce foe of former President George W. Bush, smiling and clasping hands with Obama at the start of the summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in Trinidad.

“I greeted Bush with this hand eight years ago; I want to be your friend,” Chavez told Obama, according to a Venezuelan presidential press office statement.”  (From Reuters)

OMG!!  WHAT was Obama THINKING?!  He shook hands with Chavez and now our country will suddenly dissolve into… into what? A puddle of Diplomacy?

I can’t believe the over-whelming amount of news coverage and chatter one simple handshake has garnered.  You would think that the U.S. will suddenly cease to exist because our President showed common courtesy as Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez extended his hand to Obama, and then gave President Obama a history book (insert sound track of political pundits and talking heads GASPING here).  Oh  wait.  He didn’t just shake hands once with Chavez.  It was three times!  And how do I know this?  Because someone actually counted, and then reported on it.  It must have been a real slow news day.

Personally speaking, I fail to understand what is so “politically incorrect” about shaking the hand of another human being: even a perceived foe.  No more than I understood that dust up over Michelle Obama returning a spontaneous hug from Queen Elizabeth. Maybe physical contact between some World Leaders is acceptable, and between others it’s a political faux pas.

From my point of view (and apparently from Obama’s as well), there’s nothing wrong with being diplomatic with all Foreign Leaders.  Nor should such events be “news worthy.”  Granted, this is a far cry from what has been the status quo for too many years in regards to our relations with Venezuela (and Cuba), however, Obama did promise “change,” and this was a big change!  Regardless of socio-political differences, it’s time we stop having this myopic view of the world and learn how to think, and act, Globally.  To all those who were all over the media this entire weekend with their “concerns” for our standing on the world stage in light of Obama’s simple gesture, or who went in front of the cameras with some fiend outrage, ask yourselves this:  “Do I want to continue to be part of the problems… or do I want to be part of the solutions?”  With all that’s going on with our economy and world events, we surely do need a LOT more people who sincerely want to be part of the solutions.

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