At Nelson Mandela’s memorial in South Africa, President Obama – while going to his seat – shook several hands. One of those hands belonged to Raul Castro.
And, of course, republicans have gone apeshit over it. John McCain even invoked Godwin’s Law and compared it to shaking hands with Hitler.
Well, let me ask you… what the hell was he supposed to do?
Castro extended his hand during a celebration of peace and tolerance. Was Obama really supposed to use that moment to demonstrate intolerance? And it’s not like he was supporting Castro. Within minutes of the infamous handshake, Obama gave a speech that powerfully chastised the actions of people like Castro.
How exactly would snubbing Castro help the people of Cuba? Seems to me, developing a relationship with Cuba is the best first step to helping the people of Cuba.
Not that shaking the man’s hand at an event like that was the beginning of anything. It wasn’t. It was a damn handshake. Nothing more. It was a moment where two men said, “In honor of this event, we’ll put our differences aside.” That’s all it was.
You know what bugs me the most about this? The people who are horrified that Obama shook Castro’s hand are the same people who claim we live in a nation based on Christian ideals. Wasn’t it Jesus who said we should love our enemies? Wasn’t it Jesus who taught that we should fight hatred with love? How, exactly, would a handshake refusal have accomplished anything positive? Again, this was an event where an entire country was celebrating tolerance.
Irks the hell outta’ me.
p.s. In case you weren’t aware…
Richard Nixon shook Fidel Castro’s hand. Harry Truman shook hands with Stalin. Reagan shook hands with Gorbachev. Kennedy shook hands with Khrushchev. This isn’t something new, people.