Recently, Vladimir Putin wrote an OP Ed piece for the Times which was vastly commented on in this forum. In fact, more than one poster complimented Mr. Putin for his "show of leadership" on the Syria issue. Comments were made that..at least Mr. Putin was demonstrating strong leadership in the face of such weak leadership offered by our own leaders, specifically President Obama. Anyhow..I think most get my drift.
Fast forward to today...and another commentary by Russia on the quality and effectiveness of US leadership. This time, in the form of a Tweet from Alexey Pushkov, the chairman of the Russian Foreign affairs committee. The Tweet, translated, states "A new shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. One shooter and 7 bodies.No one is surprised anymore. A vivid confirmation of "American Exceptionalism".
He also tweeted the following: "The USA should part with the notion of American Exceptionalism. It contradicts the principals of equal rights and smells of politcal racism".
So...the question for the class tonight is ..What say you who were praising the Russians for their strong leadership in the face of crisis...? Is Mr. Puchokov correct in this case? Or..do we cherrypick when a leadership philosophy is right based on how it fits with our view of American Exceptionalism. The number of mass shooting and deaths and injury by gun violence is on the rise. Is that a crisis?
Like those who agreed with Mr. Putin, I contend that Mr. Pushkov is right. To me..the most telling statement in his two controversial tweets is "No one is surprised anymore". To me..the entire thing can be summed up in those 5 words.
As a country..and as a society..we need to take a good long look in the mirror and in our souls. If we can't even keep our military personnel safe from gun violence in this country , how in God's green earth can we expect to keep our school children safe? Even as our country is shying away from a potential military conflict in Syria...we have lost the war in our own borders. The gun lobbies control our laws, our lawmakers and our thought in regards to guns and we let it happen. Now, it seems that we are powerless to stop it.
Mr. Pushkov has stated in black and white what most of the industrialized world feels. When we cannot control a gun industry that is out of control, when we sacrifice countless lives to gun violence, including those of our heroes, children, and ordinary people, we have no right to preach American Exceptionalism. Mr. Pushkov has a point when he implies that American Exceptionalism exists only in the minds of misled politicians. We are not exceptional to the rest of the world. How can we be? We have our heads in the sand pretending that there is no crisis of gun violence in this country.
I don't harbor any illusion that there will be any serious conversations about changing the way we worship guns. If it didn't happen when 20 schoolchildren got shot down in cold blood a few weeks before Christmas.. it's not going to happen now.
One place to start would be for the NRA and the gun lobby to come out and state that yesterday's shooter should not have had a gun, or a permit to carry. If they can't even agree to that..then we as Americans have lost.