Hispanics have a saying: “Quien no se atreve no pasa el mar,” loosely interpreted as, “Those who want to cross the ocean must first throw themselves in.” A similar proverb in English, used often by my mother, would be, “The longest journey begins with the first step.”
In his efforts to maintain our country’s position among the world’s nations, President Obama has taken the first step and embarked on that journey. I use the word “maintain” rather than “restore” because, contrary to the current petulant political posturing, the United States is still the freest, richest and most powerful nation on Earth.
The following was gleaned from the Internet: “In a letter written in 1900, a year before he became president, Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “I have always been fond of the West African proverb: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” He repeated what he called this “homely old adage” in a speech as president in Chicago in 1903, and twice again in his writings after that.”
Apparently Obama is heeding Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to “speak softly and carry a big stick,” as evidenced by his actions in a recent international incident. Three Somalians were killed in the successful rescue of Richard Phillips, an American ship’s captain held captive by the so-called “pirates” (read “terrorists”). The president used that “big stick” with remarkable effectiveness.
Our president is trying, and with none of the “bring it on!” mentality which pervaded the last administration. I pray that he will succeed. Yes, I’m a Reluctant Republican, unable to accept the direction in which my party is moving (a direction it seems determined to continue) but reluctant to criticize it. If everything continues “as is,” the United States will become a nation with only one political party. To this observer, the GOP’s efforts appear largely defensive, with little emphasis on an offensive to slow the party’s descent into nothingness.
I will follow Obama, but only as long as he carries that big stick and uses it, when circumstances dictate, to maintain and enhance (not restore) America’s position among the world’s nations.