American political news junkies and observers have been having a great time with the speech given by legendary film star and director Clint Eastwood at the Republican National Convention on August 30. As one might expect, most Republicans and conservatives found it to be a stellar and straightforward indictment of American president Barack Obama.
The “empty chair” routine set the stage for months of jokes (at least), and references for years to come. The liberal press of course couldn’t react with anything more than dry, impotent rage, asserting that the American icon had somehow debased himself by publicly associating with the gang of racists, homophobes, and woman-haters that is the Republican Party.
Some thought that Eastwood’s oratory was perhaps a little unusual and more thoughtful than one might expect from the celebrated tough guy, but it contained much more of a challenge than viewers realized. So much, in fact, that President Obama himself saw fit to personally respond to this private citizen simply speaking his mind, posting an acerbic retort on the social media site Twitter the next day.
This was only one of many breaks from presidential decorum that Obama has executed; unfortunately, it could not have done anything but exacerbate the poor perception held for him by certain parties abroad. We’ll get to that presently.
Remember when you were in school, learning about metaphors and similes and things of that nature, and trying to keep them all straight for the quizzes and exams?
Well, have we got a metaphor for you…
As one would – or should – surmise, events at political conventions are carefully choreographed, often scripted, and delivered with the precision of a Broadway revue (to be fair, the Democrat National Convention of 2008 was probably one of the most well-executed to date). This year’s GOP convention was no different. Clint Eastwood hasn’t become a living legend because he’s a crappy actor, and the challenge he put forth that night wasn’t for Obama alone.
The American people may be more concerned with the upcoming presidential election than the intricacies of policies in China, but there are two reasons that such issues ought to be of at least passing concern to those who would like to consider themselves informed. One is that – largely owing to economic factors, threats to the economic and political stability of China now have the potential for repercussions worldwide. As the authors detailed previously in this space, this is indeed being directly threatened at present.
The other is this: The leaders of the free world, and those who aspire to be, are very concerned about China. You can take that, as they say, to the bank. It was no accident that certain individuals who spoke at the GOP convention were present, spoke as they did, and in the order in which they spoke. This has to do with an understanding of the Chinese perspective that few Westerners have. One does not have to move to China and immerse themselves in Chinese culture to acquire such an understanding (although it might help); suffice to say that it is a much more straightforward, common-sense view of the world than those in the West have been taught (by elitist politicians and journalists) to expect.
Likely Republican voters may have presumed that former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was at the convention solely because she is a black woman who has ascended to great heights in the corridors of power, particularly since the GOP is routinely excoriated pertaining to issues of race. They may have overlooked that America’s last President relied on Rice’s titanic intellect and understanding in the area of foreign policy (think China). The fact that Senator Marco Rubio’s parents escaped from a communist country may have gone unnoticed as well by the crowd at the convention and television viewers, too focused on his youth, good looks, and general popularity in the Party. They couldn’t miss the reference directed at Putin and Russia, however.
So there is no reason to expect that they would know why Clint Eastwood was speaking to an empty chair. The message delivered by America’s most famous “cowboy” and standard-setting action hero was sheer brilliance and offers hope that GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his advisers are well aware of the threat China poses, and were not afraid to send a message that was very obvious to the Chinese.
Eastwood’s “empty chair” routine was done in the style of “crosstalk,” a wildly famous comedic art in China. This was used in a singularly brilliant way by Clint Eastwood to skewer Obama on major policy issues. It is the proper Chinese way to “diss” an opponent. So a clear message was definitely being sent to China under the radar. The message was simple, subtle and very, very strong: This new President will keep his promises and is no fool about what is going on in international affairs.
This would tend to imply that the Chinese view President Obama as a fool – but we’re much more than implying this. Why, some might ask, would the Chinese not admire Obama, someone who has actualized decades of Marxist aspirations in America? Wouldn’t they consider him to be ideologically kindred?
Quite the opposite. In the eyes of the Chinese, from the Central Committee, to the farmer with a tiny television in his shack, Barack Obama is a traitor to his country, and they cannot respect that – no matter how ideologically aligned with them he thinks he is. Obviously, people in the US aren’t aware of this, since most rank-and-file American journalists and even news bureau chiefs don’t know, and wouldn’t report on it if they did.
When Obama greeted Chinese President Hu Jintao with a bow, it was not taken as courtesy or even deference; it was taken as surrender, like a submissive mongrel exposing his belly to an alpha dog. With a flourish of contrition and apologies, Obama traveled the globe in 2009, attempting to reconcile America’s slights toward all the workers and little brown people of the world. The leader of the most powerful nation on the planet behaving as such was considered piteous and laughable by the Chinese. So, Obama is a traitor and a buffoon.
Intellectually, of course they can understand how his Marxist bent has driven him to sabotage every aspect of America’s machinery, but this doesn’t engender respect. Everything he has done since the World Apology Tour has engendered nothing but ridicule on the part of the Chinese. The photos of Obama bicycling with his family, for example, played all over China as that of the quintessential boob, like a black Pee-Wee Herman blithely pedaling into hell. His ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game in St Louis, Missouri in July 2009 (among other things) helped to reinforce this image.
While the American press thought they were scoring points against former President Bush by calling him a “cowboy,” this actually helped to build up his image in China. The Chinese can relate to and respect the cowboy, someone who deals squarely and fairly with you, but will have no problem taking you down if you cross them. Kind of like Clint Eastwood’s characters. They cannot relate to or respect a petulant girly-man who can’t ride a bike, can’t throw a baseball, and can’t handle a barb.
When someone needs to “go down” or be “let go,” an adult does the job and does it decisively. Eastwood is really the standard bearer for all the cowboys who go into battle and stand for good and against evil. But as the man on the platform with a future President of the United States, his role was also that of the man calmly and courageously telling the world that a new sheriff is in town, a man who like the cowboy of old will take on the bad guys, keep his promises, and take care of us and our families. Plainspeak instead of bafflegab, the world and America breathed a sigh of relief. The message was delivered effectively, received, and understood.
It certainly was in China, at any rate…
Crossing the Divide is the effort of a black American and a white Canadian to cross color, cultural, and sociopolitical lines, as well as those that reinforce ignorance of how things really work in our world.
Erik Rush is a New York-born columnist, author and speaker who writes sociopolitical commentary for numerous online and print publications. In February of 2007, Erik was the first to break the story of President (then Senator) Barack Obama’s ties to militant Chicago preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright on a national level, which ignited a media firestorm that smolders to this day. His latest book, “Negrophilia: From Slave Block to Pedestal ~ America’s Racial Obsession,” examines the racist policies by which the political left keeps black Americans in thralldom, white Americans guilt-ridden and yielding, and maintains the fallacy that America remains an institutionally racist nation. Links to his work are available itErikrush.com.
Dr. James Garrow, PhD. is a Canadian teacher and businessman. In 1968 he founded the Bethune Institute, the legendary schools in China named for the Canadian thoracic surgeon, Dr. Norman Bethune. He is also President of Pink Pagoda Girls, an organization dedicated to rescuing baby girls from gendercide (female infanticide) in China. His book, The Pink Pagoda: One Man’s Quest to End Gendercide in China.Commenting Policy
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