Editorial - The politics of desperation
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 07:09
As we marked the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks Tuesday, another tragedy was brewing in the Middle East.
Thousands of angry protesters gathered outside U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya to denounce a ridiculous anti-Islam YouTube video, which depicted the prophet Muhammad in an overtly offensive manner.
Today, it was uncovered the video was created by a group of far-right extremists in the U.S. intentionally seeking to provoke a violent, destabilizing reaction in the Middle East. Their extremist counterparts in Egypt and Libya took the bait, and amid the resulting chaos, four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, were killed.
Yesterday, Libyans across the globe, from Morgantown to Tripoli, mourned the loss of Stevens, a passionate diplomat who worked tirelessly to help Libyans end Moammar Gadhafi’s suffocating dictatorship.
In the U.S., Stevens was remembered by his colleagues and loved ones as a courageous man who gave his life fighting for a cause he truly believed in. Unfortunately, Stevens’ legacy, defined by his commitment to building bridges between the U.S. and the Arab world, was not the focus of yesterday’s media coverage. Instead, it was Mitt Romney’s despicable attempts at scoring cheap political points from this tragedy that dominated the news cycle.
Tuesday night, Romney accused the Obama administration of apologizing for American values and sympathizing "with those who waged the attacks" on our embassies. Romney was referring to a series of tweets sent out by a public information officer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Setting aside the fact that these tweets were posted by a single individual and were not in any way endorsed by senior administration officials, if one examines them, they hardly suggest the writer was apologetic or sympathetic toward the fanatics protesting at the embassy.
The tweets simply iterated that as Americans, we reject attempts to incite hatred against all religious groups while simultaneously acknowledging that even hate speech is protected speech.
That Romney would seek to misrepresent this statement as evidence Obama and his administration, presumably including Ambassador Stevens and the other victims of these attacks, sympathize with the rabid mob trying to kill them, is disgraceful.
This preposterous, sloppy attempt at a political hack job reeks of desperation. A quick look at the polls, and it’s easy to see why the Romney camp felt it had to resort to such a sleazy attack.
If anything, this tragedy should have served as a lesson on the importance of tolerating beliefs we don’t agree with and the dangers of religious and political extremism (both domestically and abroad). Instead, it has morphed into a live demonstration of how to fumble a legitimate presidential bid.