A Shoe for Obama

A Shoe for Obama
Lisa Massaciùccoli

”A church has no season, and an altar no disguise.’
‘ — from Harriet Doerr’s “Stones for Ibarra”

“Holderlin and Beethoven, both exact contemporaries, praised Napoleon to the hilt early on. Then they came to their senses. Friedrich, as he went officially insane. And Ludwig around the time he re-dedicated his Eroica.” — A member of the Green Party in Germany

The first two paragraphs below are an attempt to be cute. After that I get down to what’s coming down.

Yes, Mr. al-Zaidi tossed a second shoe… and it hit the floor the other day in Iraq. But there’s the proverbial shoe that’s about to drop. Any day now. Somewhere.

It was very sweet for people (millions, at the very least, many cheering, many praising) to see someone almost put a symbolic foot in Bush’s mouth before he himself did once again. Beat ‘em to it, so to speak.

So there you have it. That was how I was going to open my article on the signficance of al-Zeidi throwing his shoe at Bush. Then I read David Swanson’s article http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/19965, and I decided to let the other shoe drop.

Swanson, the journalist (1):

“Here’s a little of what he communicated: no technology, no weaponry, and no propaganda can protect you from the results of mistreating millions of human beings. Iraq has been made a living hell. Everyone there has suffered and lost people they loved because of the callous greed and self-centered calculations of George W. Bush who has blood up to his shoulders after waging an illegal aggressive war for politics, money, oil, and bases from which to murder human beings in neighboring countries while seated at the safe distance of the Oval Office.”

No. WE are at a safe distance. Obama, you and your neighbor. All U.S. citizens. Me. It compounds ignorance with ignorance to reiterate the fact that Bush has blood on his hands. al-Zeidi couldn’t throw his footwear at the “American public,” but — in a very real sense –he should have. We have gotten too far away from acknowledging our guilt, our responsibility respecting the Iraqi (and other) people. Swanson’s kind of reportage merely underscores the (highly popular) obvious, that Bush deserves foot-in-mouth disease.

More from said journalist, getting kind of cute in a politically correct way:
“The question we should really ponder is not why al-Zeidi could be so impolite as to throw his shoes at Bush, but why the dozens of other shoes in the room remained on people’s feet, why no foot odor ever purifies the air at a White House press conference, why a man who throws his shoes at our president is more popular with the people I’ve spoken to here in O’Hare Airport in Chicago than our president himself and yet most Americans are not working with all the advantages we have to put our nation right with the people of Iraq by prosecuting and imprisoning not just petty crook governors of Illinois but also emperors whose nudity has to be exposed by other people taking off their shoes.”

No, the “question we should really ponder” is why we — not me — are worshipping at the feet of someone who refuses to push for Bush being prosecuted.

And a related question has to do with how the “American public” can buy the notion that that sin of omission is a legitimate inaction in the name of not being divisive. The prosecution of war crimes should not be contingent upon convenience, an opportune moment. At the very least, such a spade should be called a spade.

It would have been better if I had titled this piece “A Shoe for Obama and Your Neighbor for Xmas, or Whenever.”

We should take some action. And it should involve more than throwing shoes. And it should happen yesterday.

Footwear designed by a proctologist is what’s needed.

(1) It’s really puzzling and instructive when one looks at Swanson’s credentials:

“David Swanson is the author of the upcoming book “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union” by Seven Stories Press and of the introduction to “The 35 Articles of Impeachment and the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush” published by Feral House and available at Amazon.com. Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ConvictBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, and Voters for Peace, and a member of the legislative working group of United for Peace and Justice.”

The author (Lisa M.) can be reached at massaciu@yahoo.com. The intention is not to be “cute” with the article’s concluding line.