Apparently while I was celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, our president was busily signing over our country to the Japanese emperor. Because that's what it means when one world leader shows another world figure the appropriate cultural respect, right?
I cannot honestly believe that people are trying to make this into some gesture of submission or using it as a dogwhistle for a bunch of unrepentant racists. Exhibit A, taken from a column in the conservative Washington Times:
...He established a new precedent for how American presidents should pay obeisance to kings, emperors, monarchs, sovereigns and assorted other authentic man-made masters of the universe. He stopped just this side of the full grovel to the emperor of Japan, risking a painful genuflection if his forehead had hit the floor with a nasty bump, which it almost did. No president before him so abused custom, traditions, protocol (and the country he represents).
It's no fault of the president that he has no natural instinct or blood impulse for what the America of "the 57 states" is about. He was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream.
(Excuse me, but did he just say "sired"? Like a racehorse or something? And "Born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World?" I'm pretty sure that's code for her being fond of something that I can't say on this family blog, and it's not nice to talk about people's mothers, in any case.)
He was bowing. In Japan. Which is a country where people bow to greet one another and show respect. I guess President Obama was supposed to clap him on the shoulder and say, "Howdy!" instead?
Of all the disgraceful presidential acts that have taken place of late, I'm thinking this one doesn't even hit the radar. Let us remember George W. Bush surprising German Chancelor Angela Merkel with a clearly unwanted and thoroughly creepy backrub:
Oh, and here's a quotation I hadn't heard before, also from young Bush: "At the White House on April 15, 2008, President Bush remarked to Pope Benedict after his sermon: "Thank you, your Holiness. Awesome speech."
Of course, none of this comes close to George Bush, senior, who famously vomited into the lap of the Japanese prime minister:
Between bowing and vomiting, I think I know what most people would prefer.