Smoky Mountains Sunrise

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Reagan Thought His Kids Should Know; What Obama Thought His Kids Should Know

By Ed Lasky

The mark of a leader is what he believes. Beliefs are the foundation of his life. This is one reason presidential biographies are so revealing and why so often they serve as guides to explain presidential actions. This is often why candidates have their lives examined -- or why they should be examined, since the principles they hold dear are talismans regarding how they will govern as presidents. What a father teaches his kids can be the distillation of the best of these beliefs -- the ones they consider the most vital, if not sacred.

I kept this in mind when reading Peggy Noonan's book on Ronald Reagan, When Character was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan.

During World War Two, Reagan's bad eyesight kept him out of combat. But he tapped his Hollywood talent to lead efforts in developing a new method for briefing pilots and bombardiers before they began bombing missions. He used mockups created in Hollywood to give pilots a more accurate way of identifying the challenges they faced on their runs. The resulting films were sent to bomber bases in the Pacific. From his position he was given access to films from the battle lines, taken by troops, before the public saw them.

Among these movies were those filmed as the allies came across the death camps of the Third Reich.

They made an impression on him. And on what he wanted to pass along to his children.

From Noonan's book:
He remembered one especially. "It showed the interior of a huge building," he said. "Our troops had just taken over a camp and had entered the building...And the floor was covered by bodies. Then, as we watched in horror, one of the bodies rose up on an elbow, and a hand reached up -- a hand rising out of a sea of bodies, as if...pleading for help."
He kept a copy of the film for a very serious and sophisticated reason. He remembered that after World War I there had been charges that America had been manipulated into war with phony propaganda about "bleeding Belgium."  He wanted to keep proof of who Hitler was and what Nazism stood for and had done. In later years, when anyone voiced doubt about the Holocaust he showed that film to them. He showed it to his sons when they became teenagers. His daughter Patti told me that he'd shown the film to her too, that her father had wanted his children to know what the war was about. It had been upsetting for then, It gave her nightmares.
As President, he was caught in a snafu regarding his visit to a cemetery (Bitburg) in Europe where some SS members had been interned, along with German soldiers. He did not realize that when the plans were made, but he felt bound to continue the visit as a favor to his partner in the Cold War, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. It was a mistake, only partially rectified by adding a visit to a concentration camp as part of the tour of Europe.  Other than that, Reagan was very friendly toward the Jewish community and was a stalwart friend of Israel's.

The fact that he ensured his children learned about the Holocaust at an early age -- before Reagan thought of entering politics -- was admirable.

Now compare what Barack Obama thought his daughters should learn at the church led by his "moral compass"  and "sounding board" Jeremiah Wright.

These are Wright's views from the pews, that he gave to those entrusted to his moral and ‘religious" teaching. They include the teaching that Israel is a "dirty word."  They include an awards to the worst anti-Semite in America, Louis Farrakhan. They include the church magazine carrying a manifesto written by a Hamas leader stating that Israel had developed an "ethnic bomb" that kills blacks and Arabs (now that is a blood libel for you). Wright's sermons contained denunciations of Israel and Zionism, which he blamed for imposing "injustice and racism" on the Palestinians. He believes that Zionism contains an element of "white racism" and compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to apartheid. Wright also supported boycotts of Israel. He also blamed 9/11 partially on American support for Israel since he views Israel as practicing "state terrorism" against the Palestinians.

As part of his schooling, he has posted this tutorial on the church website.

These lessons are important to keep in mind as they seem to be reflected in Obama's own policies towards Israel -- a nation that arose once again after half of the world's Jews were  killed by the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Barack Obama, by his own words, has extended the open hand of friendship to the regime in Iran that openly boasts of its desires to eradicate Israel.

What are Barack Obama's bedrock principles compared to those of Ronald Reagan?

I would be remiss in failing to mention that Wright had it in for white people and for all of America -- a nation that he viewed as deserving 9/11 when the chickens came home to roost.

Wright believed whites to be irredeemably racists, of developing "AIDS" to kill blacks. Wright filled the church with hatred and conspiracy theories -- all the while all of this hatred was being broadcast from the pulpit to all those in the pews- including Sasha and Malia Obama, the young and impressionable daughters of the President and the First Lady.

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