Mandela's dead. We all know that by now. But the controversies surrounding his tribute are still going strong.
For the Republicans in the US, death for the South African hero wasn't good enough. First they had to publicly denounce the late freedom fighter and politician as a fascist, a communist and a murderer. Despite common courtesy of tempering criticisms of the recently departed out of respect, the GOP amped up their attacks. Even when Tea Party whackadoo Ted Cruz had given a lukewarm acknowledgement of Mandela's passing in a tweet, his own faction of his party turned on him. Evidently even common decency is shunned by the Tea Party and their main mother ship, the GOP.
Okay, Republicans, get over it. For a party that never truly understood Apartheid, Soweto or even that the country has three capitals, you sure get a charge out of criticizing a nation struggling to get a handle on poverty, crime and corruption.
On a day celebrating the life of Mandela, thousands of countrymen, women and children turned out to celebrate his life, not mourn. Millions watched on their TV's. Whether or not you agree with all of his politics, the man had greatness in him. And ultimately the world benefited from his 95 years among us. Leaders past and present, from approximately 100 different countries, turned out to share memories and pay tributes to the late leader. It wasn't a funeral -- but a tribute. And so it's quite amazing the outrage over this event and accusations of wrong doing by President Obama.
Since when is it wrong, bad or out of place to take a "selfie?" This wasn't a funeral. This was a celebration. The funeral will be in a few more days. Ever been to an Irish wake? Yesterday's event was that kind of uplifting tribute, not the solemnness of interment. So let's cut the sh** and lose the holier than thou act.
Next, lets move onto the handshake:
Yes, a common gesture shared by mankind in many parts of the world. Sometimes it seals a deal. Other times it's just a tradition or courtesy. It's meaning is no more than saying "Gesundheit," "Salud," or "God bless you" after someone sneezes.
That is unless you're looking to make a statement, searching for anything to criticize. Then, the simple, the mundane becomes an atomic cloud of fallout. And so we have the controversial Obama/Castro handshake. Oh, and when I say Castro, I'm not talking about the one that's famous, one that everybody would recognize, Fidel. It's Raul. Think of him as the Doug Pitt, Brad's younger brother of the acting Pitt Brothers-- or Casey Affleck, Ben's little, but talented bro. This is not to diminish the younger siblings or their accomplishments, but they are dwarfed by their older siblings.
When I say Marco, you say Polo -- not Rubio. But the Cuban connection is a good transition. But what's even better is the explanation and consternation of Jon Stewart in last night's Comedy Central. He shows the inanity of the GOP'ers who are outraged and yet guilty of the very same "crime," a handshake: McCain/Kadafi, Reagan/Gorbachev, Nixon/Mao, Jerry Ford/Leonid Brezhnev, G.W. Bush/Uzbekistan dictator Islam Karimov and finally Poppi Bush/Hugo Chavez -- all Republican Presidents with despots and all exchanged handshakes.
So, here's four minutes which could soon be tagged with the moniker, "classic."
Now if the GOP is really that concerned with the hand gestures of political leaders, maybe this recent picture of Republican front runner for President in 2016, Chris Christie should be of more concern. Here's a picture worth more than a thousand words. Here's the New Jersey Governor recently and I don't think he was just reaching for a cupcake with a cherry on top: