Garnering cheers from the French of all people, President Obama declared, "In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." Consider that Obama spoke these words just 500 miles from the beaches of Normandy, where the sand is still stained with 65 year old blood of "arrogant Americans." - Peter Heck
This section of an article published by Peter Heck a few weeks ago, contains the two things that I hate most about the "opinion as fact" world of media that we are stuck in at present. (1) It takes a quote entirely out of context and (2) makes a statement that hyperbolizes the sentiment he is trying to foment.
I'm tired of sitting around and waiting for the American people to wake up and realize that in today's media world, you can't trust anything anyone says, myself included. You have to verify, and what Mr. Heck, and the other dozen or so "conservative" commentators have done with this quote is use it as one more way to demonize a President who has been in office for just over 3 months. So, I did what I do when I receive this kind of thing in my email inbox, forwarded on from a well meaning friend of mine, I went out and found the quote, in context. Here it is:
At the crossroads where we stand today, this shared history gives us hope -- but it must not give us rest. This generation cannot stand still. We cannot be content merely to celebrate the achievements of the 20th century, or enjoy the comforts of the 21st century; we must learn from the past to build on its success. We must renew our institutions, our alliances. We must seek the solutions to the challenges of this young century.
This is our generation. This is our time. And I am confident that we can meet any challenge as long as we are together. (Applause.)
Such an effort is never easy. It's always harder to forge true partnerships and sturdy alliances than to act alone, or to wait for the action of somebody else. It's more difficult to break down walls of division than to simply allow our differences to build and our resentments to fester. So we must be honest with ourselves. In recent years we've allowed our Alliance to drift. I know that there have been honest disagreements over policy, but we also know that there's something more that has crept into our relationship. In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.
But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad.
On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America.
So I've come to Europe this week to renew our partnership, one in which America listens and learns from our friends and allies, but where our friends and allies bear their share of the burden. Together, we must forge common solutions to our common problems.
So let me say this as clearly as I can: America is changing, but it cannot be America alone that changes. We are confronting the greatest economic crisis since World War II. The only way to confront this unprecedented crisis is through unprecedented coordination
Strasbourg, is 626 miles (not 500) from Normandy, although I'm not really sure what his proximity to the beaches of Normandy has to do with his statement. There are many American soldiers buried in cemeteries the world over, an unfortunate byproduct of the position our great country has attained.
President Obama was speaking about the need for the Unites States and Europe to eliminate needless animosity, and to forge a stronger bond between our countries, unions and most importantly our citizens. He was not, as Mr. Heck and others would have you believe, disparaging America, or it's veterans. But, in a world where we we expect, and unfortunately allow, others to do our thinking for us, we get what we deserve, and that my friends is a whole bunch of pundits who want one thing and one thing only, for you to agree with them.
I don't want you to agree with me, if you do that's fine, but it's not my end goal. What I want is for the people of this country to stop just accepting what they're given and to rediscover the independent spirit that made this country what it is. In order for this country to function properly, we, the citizens, need to be constantly questioning authority, and authorities. If we let down our guard and allow ourselves to be spoon fed then we are sewing the seeds of our own destruction (wow, that was kind of cliche, but I'm sticking with it).
So do me a favor, go out and question someone that you think is an authority. Do some checking to see if you're getting the truth from Olbermann or O'Reilly, I think you'll be rather surprised, and if you're anything like me, severely dissapointed.