The President and Wagging Tongues
There he was. The President of the United States, along with four predecessors and some other 91 world leaders paying homage to the late Nelson Mandela in a massive Johannesburg, South Africa, stadium.
It was an awesome event earlier this week. The American president's eulogy received an A-Rating. It was spell binding.
In the midst of the momentous occasion, everyone could hear world-wide including the hearing impaired.
The only problem? The fellow on screen beside Mr. Obama was an impersonator. That's correct. Sign-language readers universally picked up immediately that the "crasher" knew nothing about how to interpret. No one seemed anxious to grab him off the platform.
The question here is where was the usually impeccable U. S. Secret Service? What had the advance team done to check out all of the official participants? How could the imposter get so close to the American president?
It's difficult to think what would have happened if the imposter had been a terrorist, or some other ne'er-do-well just wanting to make a name in history. Frightful?
Might be funny to some, or an idea for others, around the world. Or how a fraud could invade the occasion. No doubt the fabled United States Secret Service, once back home, would not be chuckling.
A guess would be that serious changes and incident reports will lead to disciplines. The current presidential security detail could be altered.
It's serious business. Imagine the international disaster had the phony worn a bomb vest? The thought is troublesome to say the least.
Mr. Mandela ended apartheid in South Africa. Visualize the historic day he walked out of Robben Island prison in 1990 after almost three decades. This man refused to be ruined by bitterness and hatred. He set an example of forgiveness. Sure is hard to do such a thing.
Mr. Mandela was baptized a Methodist as a child and obviously learned a lot. Mr. Obama, whether we like it or not, is a Methodist, too.
The president set the tongues wagging, too, after his words. Before leaving the stage, he shook hands with world leaders. A gentlemanly and diplomatically thing to do. Of course, the boo-birds are out almost as much as the sports media enjoying beating up on the Washington Redskins owner, coach and franchise quarterback.
President Obama shook the hand of Raul Castro, the Cuban president and brother of Fidel, speaking softly and respectful to him. Then kissed Mrs. Castro, before heading down the line.
Those who escaped the harsh Cuban lifestyle since the Castros took power have become a lobby larger than any other it seems. The United States has embargoed everything from Cuba, even though the treasured cigars can be bought in Canada, Mexico, and Great Britain. No US dollars are supposed to be spent on the island 90 miles from Key West, FL.
Perhaps a warming of relationships between the US and Cuba is imminent. Maybe President Obama can obtain release of several Americans held prisoner by the Castros. That would be good. Send in American corporations, let the Cubans get some new Detroit vehicles, let Havana have a baseball team back in either the Triple AAA International League or the Major Leagues.
It's time to open the doors just as American relationships are booming in China, Russia, Vietnam and other places. Lots of Americans sneak into Cuba via Canada, Mexico and Caribbean capitals. Europeans holiday in Havana. The British enjoy holidays in the tourist areas of Havana. They all keep returning.