AS OBAMA PROMOTES BASIC FREEDOMS IN CUBA HE SPEAKS TO THE HEART OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
March 22, 2016
As many Americans I awoke today to the news of the horrific terror and human devastation taking place in Brussels. The images broadcast from Europe are taking effect. It comes to mind that Europeans and Americans froze in place witnessing again the fear promoted by a few upon the many. As first responders rush to the aid of multiple casualties, leaders in Belgium and France echo "We are at War." And with those words police and the military are in the process of locking down the city and have begun house to house searches and secure the borders. People are advised to stay indoors as authorities are sifting through the chaos.
As Europe struggles to regain composure and reclaim some sense of order, individual liberties are put on hold. In the Middle East there are reports of ISIS celebrating this temporary victory. The strategy of fear has once again put the West on notice. However, free nations will regroup and then reaffirm our belief in basic freedoms for all. Fear is not acceptable.
Almost simultaneously, President Barack Obama is speaking to the Cuban people and their government officials including President Raul Castro. I am moved by the enthusiastic reception ordinary Cubans extend to America on this a day that will be historic.
As I attempt to focus on President Obama and his remarks I see the tragedy in Brussels on a split screen. My attention moves to "live address" and look for those points some will welcome and others I just know will be condemned by the Presidential candidates later today whenever they can grab the attention of the media.
As I listen to President Obama, I see the irony in words. He is speaking to an attentive audience in Havana, pointing out the values they share with America. There are fundamental differences in two competing systems that have been engaged in more than fifty years of a cold war and now a stalemate.
The President uses his best skill of oration as he offers an outline of the freedoms he calls "basic to humanity" across the globe. He receives an impressive ovation. The first freedom of "Speech and Expression" arouses Cubans. He condemns the injustice of unlawful "detention" of people for speaking aloud their beliefs. His words resonate through the crowd as he speaks with pride of how we, the people in America enjoy a freedom that affords individuals to act as themselves and utilize principles of equal opportunity to move from poverty, ascend to a middle class with the highest standard of living in the world. He speaks of the Freedom of Religion that respects the Right to worship their own concept of God.
As his words are lauded with vigorous applause in Cuba, I hear his observation how the United States is but ninety miles away. It immediately comes to mind that all that President Obama highlights as the merits of our democracy, I also think of the irony. There is a bit of hypocrisy of our great model once in place that is now at risk with the mantra "greed is good." The portrait of the United States the President illustrates to Cuba is painted with a wide brush. Not to criticize President Obama in this a highlight of his final year in office, but how he has skillfully put forth a subtle message and reminder to Americans. Our nation is founded on a principle he is selling to the Cuban people. He is in a sense acting as a true statesman, an advocate for People and how they bring change, greater wealth by unifying in whether they stand up to authoritarian Marxists or the oligarchy of the wealthy that over the same fifty years, ninety miles away to grab money, power and undermine the freedoms we hold dear. There is a change in spirit and hope now among Cubans. They want what America represents and what we will never surrender to greed; the Bill of Rights and our Freedoms.
There is a message here that comes only with experience of the White House. My hope is that certain candidates are open to consideration as they go forward.