Monday, January 12, 2015

American Exceptionalism.

I was, it seems, unfair to our administration.

I wrote, yesterday, about how the US blew off the chance to stand tall with much of the the rest of the world (even those parts of it that were lying through their collective teeth) in favor of free speech and press and religion and tolerance.  Leaders from around the world showed up to stand with millions from France to say they were not afraid and they believed in the word - even when they don't like it. 

The US?  Not so much.
Obama spent the day in the White House. Joe Biden was wherever he was. Secretary of State John Kerry was in India focusing not on freedom of speech and press and religion and tolerance but about the real American value: entrepreneurship. Eric Holder was there to talk law enforcement and anti-terrorism, but he didn't march. We weren't altogether absent, of course. Our Ambassador, Jane Hartley showed up. I imagine the 40 or so Presidents, Chancellors, Prime Ministers, and the like who were there felt honored that we showed up at all.
It seems I was too hasty in my criticism (me and lots of others, I should add).

AP reports that John Kerry explained.
[He] dismissed the criticism as “quibbling”, and noted that the assistant secretary of state for Europe, Victoria Nuland, was in Paris at the march, as was the US ambassador to France and many embassy staffers. The US attorney general, Eric Holder, was also in Paris, but did not march.
So we had staffers there.  And an assistant secretary of state.  And of course that ambassador.  And we did have a cabinet member in town, though he didn't see fit to join. 

But Kerry does plan to get to France one day soon.

And Obama did apparently stop by the French embassy one day last week and says 
We stand united with our French brothers
We just do it from a safe distance.


  1. Interestingly, many of those leaders that did show up are not exactly supporters of free speech. And by "not exactly supporters" I mean that they jail journalists:


    1. Indeed.

      Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee, as Nat Hentoff titled one of his books.

      It's why I put in that line about how they "were lying through their collective teeth."