There is much to-do in the international press about a recent BBC poll showing that America’s popularity around the world has indeed risen since Barack Obama was anointed on January 20, 2009.
We’re reluctant enough to accept the findings of any poll commissioned by the BBC, history’s most overrated “news” organization, but, even if true, the poll should give us no joy.
People do not get their news directly. They get it from news organizations and government handouts. So, whatever rise in popularity we’re experiencing must be explained in part by the distortions committed by the international press, which not only leans, but often falls flatly to the left. Obama is simply made to look better than he is.
And there is something else, more intangible, but far more important. It was best expressed by Golda Meir, the late prime minister of Israel. She was asked why Israel did things that were unpopular around the world. She shot back, “I’d rather have a bad editorial than a good obituary.” It’s something we should remember the next time we go through one of those “image” debates on our standing in the world. Becoming more popular may have a price attached that thoughtful Americans may not want to pay. If we become more popular through appeasement, weakness, ridiculous foreign “engagements,” that kind of popularity isn’t worth it. We may have the better editorial, but we may also have the quicker obituary.
We might recall Ronald Reagan’s warning that we are always one generation away from losing our freedoms. The fact is, we are always less than a generation away from losing our country. There is no written guarantee that America will survive, especially given the nature of some of our enemies, increasingly equipped with nuclear weapons.
So don’t get caught in the popularity trap. Ask why our popularity is rising, and whether you’re willing to pay the price, for yourself and for your children. The rational answer is often “no.”
From URGENT AGENDA (www.urgentagenda.com)
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