Earlier this week at the state funeral for former South African leader Nelson Mandela, US President Barack Obama walked near Cuban President Raul Castro and rather than ignore him, Obama did the polite and humane thing to do. He greeted the Cuban President and shook his hand.
Within seconds the right wing jihadists were off on their latest witch hunt to prove that Barack hates America. One mouth-breather said in a Twitter post that "I knew he was a communist Muslim."
He could tell that from a handshake?
In the feeding frenzy of accusations and inuendo and grave predictions for the nation's future that followed, the knuckle-draggers seemed to have forgotten a couple of things in their past.
For example, where was the outrage when Donald Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam Hussein a known terrorist (and made up threat to American security)? Where was the outrage when angry old man and US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) shook hands with Muammar Gaddafi the deposed and now-dead former leader of Libya? At one time in the war on terror Libya was listed as one of the top exporter of terror in the world yet McCain could shake the leaders hand?
And what about when Richard "I Am Not a Crook" Nixon shook the hand of the communist leader of China, Mao Tse Tung? Or what about when Ronald Reagan was palling around with the communist leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev?
What makes these famous handshakes even more ironic is that McCain, Rumsfeld, Nixon and Reagan flew to meet the people whose hands they shook. All the trips were intentional. Barack met Raul Castro at a funeral in a neutral country.
And since we're screaming and hollering about American Presidents shaking the hand of the Castro's what about when Richard "I Am Not A Crook" Nixon shook the hand of Raul Castro's big brother Fidel? Did the airwaves light up with contempt and anger and was Nixon called a "communist Muslim?" Of course not - the Fox News Channel wasn't on the air then and Rush Limbaugh was busy using a boil on his ass as the basis for a deferrment from military service.
Taking things to a bit more of an extreme, why did we not hear a peep out of the Republic Party when their god, Ronald Reagan met with the leaders of the Taliban and referred to them as "the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers?" Can you even imagine the outrage that would have happened had Barack Obama said that?
And who could ever forget the time that George W. Bush not only shook hands with but held hands with and even kissed the sheik who is leader of Saudi Arabia? You remember Saudi Arabia don't you? It was Osama bin Laden's home country.
What Obama did with Raul Castro was a polite diplomatic gesture from one world leader to another. With luck it might open the door for eased tensions with Cuba, a neighbor who needs friends just 90 miles from our border. Maybe its just me but I would much prefer to have my President shake the hand of the President of a communist nation than to embarrass my country like George W. Bush did with his frat boy prank of massaging the shoulders of the German Chancellor at a meeting in Eruope. What Bush did to Chancellor Merkel would have been considered grounds for a sexual harassment suit had it happened in a Federal office building in the United States.
Where was the outrage then?