On my ‘high horse’? You bet I am!

By Barry Farber

The Russian man stormed out of the train in Stockholm and went up to the first man who was tall and blond. “Are you Swedish?” the Russian asked. Upon getting assurance he was, the Russian hauled off and slapped him so hard his head almost spun around.

“Vat vas dat for?” asked the Swede rubbing his sore jaw and grabbing a bench-top for support. “That was for your King Charles and his Swedish invasion of Russia in 1708,” replied the Russian. “Yah, tanks,” replied the Swede, still rubbing his face. “I vas kind of curious about dat.”

Does that make sense? Maybe it makes about as much sense as Barack Obama’s bewildering speech at the National Prayer Breakfast!

President Barack Obama rose to make the point that Christians should be very careful up there on their high horses criticizing Islamic groups like ISIS for crucifying children, burying their captives alive for “not being Muslin enough,” beheading them and, most recently, drenching a Jordanian pilot in flammable liquid and burning him to death in a cage. I was just about to solidify feelings of moral superiority for our different ways. Obama stopped me just in time.

Dizzy Gillespie, the jazz trumpet virtuoso widely accredited with giving the world Bebop, was once asked, “Where do you find the toughest audiences in the world?” Without a millisecond’s hesitation Dizzy replied, “Baltimore! If they like you in Baltimore they give you a clap.” And then he clapped his hands together one time only. “One clap. One clap!” marveled Dizzy. “That’s all!”

Admittedly, one clap beats one boo, but not by much. And Obama does get that one clap from me. I do, indeed, approve of the president knowing and sharing enough history to remind us there was a time when white people and black people were separated by law and by force, with whites on top! The president might have wheedled two claps out of me if he’d expanded his history lesson to include the fact that the Democratic Party had a paramilitary unit to enforce white supremacy. It was called the Ku Klux Klan!

But here? But now? While that metal cage was still smoking from the Jordanian pilot’s incineration? Is this the president’s idea of proper timing for that particular history lesson?

Why did it give me the impression that this president is not quite mad-as-hell at ISIS?

There’s something highly biblical going on. The forces of evil have risen. Will the forces of good rise up to overwhelm them? For that, stay tuned.

History and headlines can be slow, deliberate, inexorable and boring. Then suddenly hell can jump the track and scatter to the four corners of our lives. On Aug. 31, 1939, British public opinion, still aching from the pain of World War I, was far from united against jumping in and stopping the aggression of Adolf Hitler. London high society was divided between those who would and would not “receive” German diplomat Joachim von Ribbentrop socially. The next day Germany invaded Poland, World War II began, and suddenly everybody was for war and victory.

When my mother, baby brother and I entered the Carolina Theater on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 7, 1941, to see “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (said to be Adolf Hitler’s favorite film!), America was riven by isolationist factions that said, “To hell with Germany. To hell with Britain. To hell with war.” When we exited the theater the newsboys were selling “extra” editions of the Greensboro Daily News with dark headlines screaming, “Japs Bomb U.S.” There were no more isolationists. Sorry. Gone. Ain’t got no more!

The small Mideast nation of Jordan was zebra-striped with Islamic groups that wanted no part of a war against ISIS. When ISIS proved itself as stupid as it was cruel by burning that pilot alive, the king himself donned military garb and led his unified nation into a frenzied campaign to make ISIS sorry Jordan wasn’t a lot closer to Oklahoma.

The initial signs are encouraging. ISIS thought Jordan would quail out and slink away from war. Jordan has never before been so united and determined. And the United Arab Emirates, which quailed out for a few hours, did a smart military about-face and quailed right back in. ISIS doesn’t know who’s hitting it at any given time, but they know the anti-ISIS coalition is growing!

This is one of the most awkward, uncomfortable moments in the life of our American constitutional republic. An American president using a moment such as those given to us by ISIS to say, “Hold on there. We’ve done some pretty awful things in the name of Jesus Christ, too!” What is the purpose, the thrust, the goal of such remarks? It seems to be nothing more or less than, “Let them do their thing over there. And let me tell you about my community college plan!”

Somehow, despite all the “pretty awful” things Obama likes to dredge up, America still manages to guarantee folks a fair and speedy trial, no double-jeopardy, the right to confront your accuser, the right of appeal, no cruel and unusual punishments, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and much, much more!

Y’know what, Mr. President? My horse’s height seems just right!

Media wishing to interview Barry Farber, please contact [email protected].

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