By Jim Berlin
The driving dynamic at every level of human interaction – from personal relationships to nation vs. nation – hinges on a single word: territory.
Specifically, the protection and preservation of territory against all comers: My religion, my opinion, my politics…my boyfriend, my girlfriend, my spouse, my kids…my school, my city, my country…
…And if covetous space aliens ever come calling – my planet Earth.
The defense of MY and whatever word follows is why husbands and wives love and fight, why people go nuts at sporting events and countries go to war.
This is mine, what’s mine is me, and I will not abandon any part of it without a fight. And no, the theory doesn’t suffer when someone points to the pacifists and cheek-turners who bow to bullies and tyrants just to keep the peace. The territory those folks are
protecting is a conceit of the mind, the defense of a philosophy they think will set them apart from the barbarians.
To them, that philosophy is just as real as a country’s borders or a teddy bear hugged to the chest of a sleeping child.
So…if you want to know why you or anyone else does what he does – from President Obama to the neighbors next door – look first for the territory at stake.
It’s always there.
By Jim Berlin
White House aides leapt to President Obama’s defense after Chinese media expressed anger over his incessant gum-chewing during the economic summit in Beijing.
The Chinese were particularly offended when America’s chief representative kept chomping away while conversing with some of their top leaders.
“It’s a little known fact that among Harvard Law School graduates, gum-chewing in public is de rigueur,” an Obama staffer told me. “And to chew while speaking with someone is considered a sign of respect for that person.”
“I did not know that,” I said.
“Apparently, neither did the Chinks,” he laughed.
“Chinks? Isn’t that a derogatory term?” I asked.
“Again, it’s a little known fact that Harvard Law School grads always refer to the Chinese as Chinks. It’s also a sign of respect.”
“Gee,” I asked, “what other respectful stuff do Harvard Law graduates do?”
“Well, belching and passing gas in the company of others is real big,” he said. “And if you can do either one with style, it’s really, really respectful.”
“Oh, sure. For example, Mr. Obama can belch the phrase ‘I love beer.’ And if he eats a big bowl of beans beforehand, he’s been known to toot a rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ that’s positively moving.”
“Maybe it’s a good thing he didn’t do that in China,” I offered.
“Yeah. Like I said, the Chinks just don’t understand respect.”
By Jim Berlin
President Obama is a rudderless man with no anchor in reality because the ship he thought was his has sailed and left him lonely on the dock. His worldview
– how he believes things work, what people are all about – has proven disastrously naïve.
He described that worldview in 2007 just before assuming the presidency, citing his unique qualifications for making peace with radical Islam: He had lived among Muslims in Indonesia as a youth, attended a Muslim school, studied the Koran and heard the moving “call to prayer” five times a day over the community’s loudspeakers.
It had all been so lovely.
And soon, as president, that shared experience would be the bridge over troubled waters. It would only require kindness and lots of apologies and the enemy would melt in his arms.
He tried those things – much to our embarrassment – and our enemies called it weakness. Smelling blood and fear, their numbers grew and the atrocities multiplied.
Now, his worldview in tatters, the president is the robot that has blown a fuse, awkwardly lurching and spinning on center stage, feebly
waving its arms in all directions and grasping at empty air.
Only golf consoles him now, because he understands golf. The game never changes:
Hit the ball, get on the green, put the ball in the cup, do it over again.
Golf makes soothing and perfect sense to President Obama. It’s all that does anymore.