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
Before Tuesday’s election Democratic candidates ran as fast and far as they could from Barack Obama, but the president and his policies raced ahead and lay in wait in voting booths across the country.
There was simply no escaping the man.
All Democrats asked was for Mr. Obama to remain quiet and invisible leading up to November 4th, but his ego was having none of it. Convinced somehow and by someone that his popularity was untarnished, the president announced it was his policies that would be on every ballot.
Not the candidates themselves – not their message – but his policies.
He was sure victory was coming and he wanted to claim it. He would show all those misguided and mistaken Democrats who shunned his help how very wrong they were. He would show them he was still The Man.
He was right. His policies were on the ballot. And a clear majority of Americans – still convinced this is God’s country – announced they will no longer put up with a president who believes quite the opposite.
GOP victories in the House and Senate don’t mean the long national nightmare is over.
But the country is stirring in its sleep – and the White House is no longer controlling the dream.
Mr. Obama will have to work now with Congress – with America – if he is to leave any legacy worth leaving at all.
We’ll see if his ego can handle that.
By Jim Berlin
Everything that’s wrong with government bureaucrats generally and Obama appointees in particular was on display at this week’s news conference announcing the first diagnosis of Ebola on American soil.
After CDC director Thomas Friedman all but told us God himself couldn’t cause an Ebola outbreak in the U.S., a New York Times reporter asked the nationality of the carrier who had brought the virus here from Liberia. It’s a simple question with a simple answer – unless you’re the ultimate government bureaucrat: someone actually in charge of a federal agency. Someone actually appointed by The Man, Barack Obama.
For these folks power is everything, and nothing is more powerful than knowledge they can keep to themselves. Citing “patient confidentiality,” Dr. Friedman would only say, “The patient was visiting family members.”
The reporter asked again, “What nationality?” And Friedman said again, “The patient was visiting family who live in this country.”
The next day everyone from Earth to Mars
knew the patient was Thomas Duncan, an unprincipled Liberian who lied about his intimate contact with dying Ebola victims just so he could board a plane for Texas. And bring with him the gift that keeps on giving.
Not exactly the kind of person who deserves “patient confidentiality.”
That the world quickly learned all about Thomas Duncan was just fine with Dr. Friedman. He’d had his glorious moment in the sun, standing before the world’s reporters and cameras, letting them all know – twice – that he knew something they did not know. And better yet, he wasn’t going to tell them.
It’s the power. It’s the little people with big jobs.
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.