On Monday, February 28, 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was interviewed by ABC News' Christine Amanpour on location in Tripoli.
Gadhafi was reported to be in complete denial of any protests against him. “All my people love me,” he insisted. “They would die to protect me.” He added that Libya is “ruled by the people and he is simply one of them.” When asked if he would consider stepping down (after 41 years in power) he laughed heartily and simply said, “No.”
Egypt’s former leader Hosni Mabarek is said to still be in Egypt, but not in Cairo. Like Gadhafi, he too believes the disruption in his country was not caused by “his people,” but by terrorists who came to eject him from office by stirring up the masses.
Perhaps these two misguided lunatics will get a timeshare with Osama Bin Laden and kick back this summer. It’s been a long couple of decades of corruption, oppression and obscene wealth. Now, it might be hard to find a spacious hole in the ground like Saddam Hussein was relaxing in when the soldiers found him. I recall he came out of the ground all grimy and unwashed with a beard like Santa Claus ranting something about being ready to cut a deal. I guess his strategy was to order the death of many, accumulate all the cash for himself and then crawl in a rathole and discuss a deal as soon as they brought him out.
Hmmm--good plan. Almost as strategic as when OJ Simpson--NFL and Heisman winning-hero--tried to prove his innocence as he drove to the airport with a disguise, bag of money and most of the Los Angeles police force following in a single-file line. I recall staring at the helicopter shot of that 80-mile-an-hour “parade” and wondering if I was watching another installment of OJ’s “Naked Gun” movies.
I recall being in the theater in 1976 watching the movie, “All the President’s Men,” and the Deep Throat character, who was an informant to the reporters Woodward and Bernstein, was telling them of the bungled Watergate mission. The reporters were shocked about how sloppy and unimaginative the whole undertaking had been and when they say this to their source he pauses a moment and almost chuckles. He says, “You guys keep assuming we’re dealing with real bright people here. We’re not!”
Man, that line haunted me as a 16-year-old and still does today. Not real bright people? So now line up the cast this county has endured since then. Nixon, Agnew, Ford, Carter, do I need to go on? Mix in the Mabareks, Husseins, Gaddafis and Bin Ladens of this melodrama and one emotion seems to run rampant—delusional!
I recall reading in one of the post-Watergate books that followed Nixon’s pardon, people that went to his house intimated that he had set up an office in his home like the Oval Office in the White House. One visitor reported his inattentiveness and timidity and noticed that his hair and nails were long and ungroomed and that he seemed to be “playing President” all day long.
Mubarek, Hussein and now Gaddafi are all claiming that they are and always will be loved by “their people.”
Carter lecturing the country on national television claiming we are too spoiled and wasteful and basically trying to appeal to the masses that we need to turn off the lights more often and drive less--basically trying to have a bake sale to save the American economy.
The sometimes I look at films of the Hitler speeches--this goofy little maniac ranting and foaming at the mouth from the lecturn while aisles and aisles of people cheer and scream. Yet as the regime folded, this heroic icon popped a cyinide pill and offed himself before he could get caught. Another big-talk but little-do con man.
So here we are in 2011. The Internet makes folly of every error a person can make. We get film of people slipping and falling, mis-speaking, being embarrassed, singing poorly on “Idol,” dancing poorly on “Dance with the Stars,” and now we see our “leaders” as they really are and the outcome is that maybe we were a little too easily impressed before. Maybe politicians should have never been vaulted to the flawless icon standards we always talked ourselves into believing. Maybe the new standard of leader will have to be openly flawed and humbled instead of assumed to be born and raised perfect while hiding their very real personality.
What do you think? Should we continue to watch the Emporer without his clothes and tell him how lovely the cloth or should we start to get real and not only tell it like it is, but allow the world to tell us how it really is? Do you think we’re ready for that? Do you think we’ll know the difference?
Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.