By now it’s pretty clear agents of the Saudi royal family murdered and dismembered a journalist in the Saudi’s Turkish consultant. Most probably at the behest of the Saudi prince — who’s supposedly a buddy of our president’s son-in-law and the darling of many rich and powerful people in the West, including the U.S. It’s also pretty clear by now that our president wants to look over the whole affair. He wants to pretend it didn’t happen. After all, it was the Saudis who treated the president like a king when he visited last year and, as everyone knows, the only thing that matters to Donald J. Trump is how it affects him.
But, of course, Mr. Trump isn’t merely a citizen of the United States of America. He’s its president. Which means his attitude toward the assassination and dismemberment of the journalist reflects on all of us. He is our leader. Supposedly, he embodies our values. Once again, I’m ashamed.
In fairness to the president, he’s not the first leader of our nation who’s condoned targeted assassinations. Or genocide for that matter. So as much as I’d like to pretend our moral fabric is stronger and whiter than it actually is, I can’t. Reality keeps striking me in the face.
I’m reminded by what Samuel Huntington said.
The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion … but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.
God, I wish it weren’t so. I wish our values were superior. And weren’t so damned hollow. But perhaps Samuel was right.
Nonetheless, I hope we don’t stop trying. I hope the high road never loses its allure. I hope many of my fellow citizens feel deeply ashamed to have a president who condones — indeed, who tries to cover up — atrocities like the one recently committed in Turkey.
For if there aren’t, then all hope is lost. We will have gone over to the dark side, perhaps irredeemable by anything but an act of God. If there is a God.
In the meantime, shame seems to be our lot.
Thank God for shame.