Comedian Jeff Foxworthy has made a living lampooning his own background. A self-proclaimed “redneck,” Foxworthy has never failed to get a crowd rolling in laughter with his hilarious routines and brilliant one-liners.
On one occasion Foxworthy described the media onslaught in the aftermath of a tornado, lamenting the fact that they always seem to find the least common denominator to interview:
“And you know the thing is, southerners are as smart as anybody else in this country, our only problem is we just can’t keep the most ignorant amongst us off the television. That's the truth. I mean, every time we have a disaster, they never film a doctor or a lawyer; they always get that woman in the muumuu and the sponge rollers: ‘It was pandelerium! I thought we'd be killed or even worse. I looked out the window in time to see the chicken house go right over our roof! All I could think was Caroline still has my casserole dish!’”
In sum, Foxworthy’s fictional tornado survivor had much bigger problems than the fact that her casserole dish might be flying somewhere over the next county.
All joking aside, how often do we find ourselves focusing on the trivial (or comparatively trivial) aspects of a particular situation, when in fact the bigger picture is far graver and implies much bigger ramifications?
In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The announcement that the U.S. government had secured Bergdahl's release and that it was freeing five senior Taliban figures from Guantanamo Bay has been portrayed first and foremost as a prisoner exchange. But the four-year history of secret dialogue that led to Saturday's release suggests that the main goal of each side may have been far more sweeping. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video)
Allow me to propose something to you: Bowe Bergdahl - the man - is a casserole dish.
We'll come back to that in a moment.
By most accounts (all but the State Department’s, that is,) Bergdahl appears to be less than the American hero everyone wishes he was. Let’s review:
Bergdahl went AWOL (absent without leave) during his deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. Before this, however, he had emailed his father and spoke of his disdain for the military. He left behind a letter in which he expressed a desire to renounce his American citizenship. Adding insult to injury, “many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.”
All of these things are important factors to consider, especially as we’re told by a senior Defense official that “Bergdahl will not likely face any punishment,” because “five years is enough.”
Pointing out these crimes (as so many have) is important, but even more so is the fact that Bergdahl isn’t the real problem here. At least, it is not the bigger picture.
Bergdahl is the proverbial “casserole dish” in a much, much larger problem.
President Barack Obama walks with Jani Bergdahl, left, and her husband Bob Bergdahl, right after he spoke about the release of their son, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Bergdahl, 28, had been held prisoner by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. He was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees held by the United States. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
We are in a state of constitutional crisis, and precious few people (especially those in power) are doing anything about it.
Aside from the fact that negotiating with terrorists is exponentially detrimental to our national security, the administration violated the Defense Authorization Act, which requires the president to give Congress “a 30-day notification before any prisoners are transferred” from the Guantanamo Bay prison.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice countered this accusation by noting that the prisoner exchange wasn’t "unknown to Congress."
That’s not the point. Either the administration followed the law, or it didn’t. Gray area doesn’t exist (at least, it shouldn’t) when it comes to our laws.
Indeed, Congress had general knowledge that such a swap was discussed at one point, but, as Rice further noted to CNN, “the Obama administration decided it was ‘necessary and appropriate’ to skip congressional notification." Had the administration informed Congress, Rice said, "it may have meant that the opportunity to recover Bergdahl may have been missed.”
Issuing a statement after Bergdahl’s release, the president said that he “wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.”
Who the president brought back with this trade is immaterial.
While I wish the president harbored the same attitude about people like jailed Marine Andrew Tahmooressi, it doesn't matter whether the president’s actions brought back an anti-war zealot like Bowe Bergdahl, or a true hero like former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew P. Tahmooressi, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and section leader with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment quick reaction force, is combat meritoriously promoted to his current rank here, Feb. 2. Tahmooressi received this meritorious promotion for the exemplary performance of his duties while holding the billet of a staff noncommissioned officer. Photo 1st Lt. Chris Harper, Pentagon.
The president and his administration broke the law.
[sharequote align="center"]The president and his administration broke the law. Again.[/sharequote]
And they’ve spent the last few days shamelessly justifying it.
Sadly, this isn't new. These past six years, our nation has been witness to an administration that has time and again sidestepped the law because they “knew better.” From unconstitutional Obamacare exemptions to using the IRS as a battering ram, this administration has shown a level of flippancy about the law that should make those who accused Bush of the same thing absolutely red with anger.
In almost exclusively highlighting Bergdahl’s traitorous tendencies, we miss the point. We’re talking about the casserole dish as the rest of the neighborhood flies away in the storm.
Yes, Bowe Bergdahl is a traitor. Yes, our foreign policy is deeply affected. Yes, we’ve set a dangerous precedent for those who would still like to see the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed et al, released.
A constitution in shambles is even worse.
I’m informed that some lawmakers are calling for hearings on the matter. That’s all well and good, except we’ve watched hearing after hearing on everything from the Benghazi cover up to the IRS scandal, while this administration remains steadfastly at the helm of a nation this president has vowed to “fundamentally transform.”
Can we really trust that anything will be done about it? Have we been given any confidence that it will be dealt with? Where are the leaders who all took oaths of office to support and defend the Constitution? It's time to end the press conferences and empty warnings. It's time to do something about it.
This isn’t nor should it be a Republican or Democrat issue. This is an American issue - we are all Americans living under the presidency of a man who believes his pen and his phone hold more power than the document he once taught as a professor.
As bad as Bowe Bergdahl is, a lawless president is far worse.
Mary Ramirez is a full time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com--a political commentary blog, and contributor to the Chris Salcedo show. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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