BY DIANE DIMOND
The world has gone all topsy-turvy.
Citizens can no longer speak their minds and have conversations about differing points of view. Facts don’t seem to matter much anymore. And there seems to be this universally accepted idea that one must prostrate themselves while publicly apologizing if they utter something that might — possibly — be construed as upsetting to someone else.
And don’t get me started on why we fixate our national outrage at an American dentist who went hunting for big game in Africa and shot a lion rather than at the Planned Parenthood organization, which admits to trading in countless baby body parts.
How did we get to this point?
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee put an underscore on the trend. Asked about the president’s pending nuclear deal with Iran, Huckabee’s response got him in trouble.
“It is so naive that (Obama) would trust the Iranians,” he said. “By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”
Huckabee’s political foes and many others — including pro-Israeli groups — pounced, denounced and demanded he recant. The candidate, who is a staunch Christian and a longtime supporter of Israel, refused. He would not agree to bow to the Outrage Gods. I find it refreshing that he is resolute to stick to what he believes.
OK, Huckabee could have chosen softer words, but his point had historical perspective so many lack today. The last time the world turned a blind eye to a country’s promise to wipe out the Jewish population there was the Holocaust.
Huckabee is of the firm belief (as are many from both political parties) that the Iranians cannot be trusted and the deal must not be ratified. Iran has broken at least 20 international agreements and their top Muslim leaders routinely call for “death to America; death to Israel.”
When was it that we started having mandatory conniption fits over differing points of view or poorly chosen words and actions? Probably with the advent of 24/7 cable news, which thrives on fanning the flames of controversy.
Even when one speaks factually they can wind up in the doghouse. Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley recently appeared at the politically liberal convention, called Netroots Nation in Phoenix. He was part of a discussion about police violence against African-Americans. Apparently with the “Black Lives Matter” message on his mind, O’Malley told the crowd, “Every life matters. And that is why this issue is so important. Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.” He was roundly booed for mentioning groups other than African-Americans.
Really? The fact is all lives do matter — period. End of story.
Despite the fact that militant audience members at the event were chanting up at the candidate with slogans such as “If I die in police custody, burn everything down,” it was O’Malley who later apologized for mentioning that white lives matter. As CNN.com put it, he said he was sorry “if it was perceived that he was minimizing the importance of blacks killed by police.”
As I write this the latest officer to shoot a black man is University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing. By the time you read this it might have happened again. Tensing was quickly indicted on a murder charge for shooting in the head Samuel DuBose, 43, who he had stopped for a missing license plate. Fortunately, the moment was captured on Tensing’s body cam. The officer said he feared for his life but the video contradicted that.
In a rare pre-trial statement, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters told reporters he had viewed the video and said, “This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make, totally unwarranted. …Horrible. …It was senseless.”
The death of DuBose is the latest in an ever-growing list of white police officers shooting and killing unarmed black men. It is a disturbing trend that warrants a serious national dialogue. But how do we discuss these sensitive subjects if all we do is attack and condemn and demand apologies from each other? There’s no law that can be passed, no government intervention that can soothe our self-inflicted anger at each other.
The solution lies within us — and where we place our outrage.
Rockland resident Diane Dimond is a syndicated columnist, author, regular guest on TV news programs, and correspondent for Newsweek/Daily Beast. Visit her at www.DianeDimond.net or reach her via email.