“Wuthering Heights” is the classic 1847 novel written by Emily Bronte under the pseudonym of Ellis Bell. This masterpiece of British literature – set in the Victorian era – is a tale with the themes of revenge and redemption; jealousy and juxtaposition; morality and manipulation. “Wuthering Heights” is wholly applicable to 21st Century American politics. Let’s call this situation withering heights.
The word withering is both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, withering is defined as “the action of becoming dry and shriveled.” As an adjective, withering is defined as “intended to make someone feel mortified or humiliated.”
There are many examples of withering as an adjective in our political process. By now, you are surely aware of the crisis in the Ukraine. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said this about Russian President Vladimir Putin recently: “Putin decides what he wants to do and does it in half a day. He makes a decision and executes it quickly and everybody reacts. That’s what you call a real leader.”
Fox News analyst Ralph Peters said this about President Putin: “(Russia) has a real leader, while our President is incapable and unwilling to lead.” Of President Putin, Sarah Palin said: “People look at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil, and our President wears mom jeans and equivocates.” Really?
There are more such quotes from conservative movers and shakers I could have cited, but you get the idea. By now, a thinker would have asked the question: what’s with all the conservative cheerleading for President Putin? President Putin directed Russian military forces to invade Ukraine without provocation or justification. President Putin broke international law as mandated and defended by the United Nations in the process.
President Putin willfully ignored the sovereignty of Ukraine; a former member-state of the old U.S.S.R. which has been independent of Russia for the past 20 years or so. President Putin is directly responsible of any loss of life his irresponsible and totally selfish actions have caused thus far. Many countries have condemned Mr. Putin’s escalations. It’s telling that the only three nations on earth who support him and Russia in this Ukraine fiasco are Iran, Syria, and Venezuela. These countries aren’t friends of the United States.
Somehow, American conservative leaders continue to heap praise on Mr. Putin for his take-no-prisoners style of leadership; while neglecting to deal with the fact that what he’s doing is both immoral and illegal. They say our own President is weak, feckless, overmatched. Those allegations are laughable. They’re the heights of hypocrisy.
As for examples of withering as a noun, the American President is holding Mr. Putin and Russia accountable for their actions. President Obama spearheaded the effort to have Russia thrown out of the G-8 economic nations. The prestigious annual summit for the governments of the leading industrialized countries is now comprised of Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, West Germany, and the United States. As of last weekend, Russia is officially out.
Did you know that Visa and Mastercard transactions in Russia no longer work? If you care to know why, it’s because President Obama took executive action to eliminate U.S. dollars from being accessible to Russian banks. U.S. banks cannot conduct normal banking practices with Russian banks until further notice. Our President has frozen Russian assets in American banks until further notice. One of those banks is owned by President Putin and several of his cohorts. In response, Mr. Putin told wealthy Russians last week they will have to pay higher taxes.
Meanwhile, President Obama has imposed visa bans for certain Russian and Ukrainian officials and their families. He also signed an executive order allowing the U.S. government to impose a host of sanctions on both individuals and entities deemed to be violating Ukraine’s sovereignty. If diplomacy fails to bring President Putin to his senses or the negotiating table, even more crippling sanctions for Russia are on deck.
Said Mr. Obama: “Russia stands alone… the 28 members of the European Union are united, the 28 members of NATO are united, every member of the G-7 has imposed sanctions on Russia as we announced on Monday, and the G-7 will meet here in Brussels in June – without Russia. If Russian leadership thought the world wouldn’t care about their actions in Ukraine, or that they could drive a wedge between the European Union and the United States, they clearly miscalculated.” Maybe it’s me; but it sounds as if the only thing set to wither away is the Russian economy.
Mr. Obama has the moral high ground; Mr. Putin does not. The American President is right; the Russian President is wrong. The world stands united with our leader – and stands united against Russia’s leader.
Conservatives, stop hating – and start congratulating President Obama.