I was brought up to consider all of my actions on the basis of what's known as the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But my dad had another perspective to overlay the Rule: when you're trying to consider a situation, event, remark, or pretty much anything in human interaction, try reversing the positions of the people involved. If A does X to B, is it proper for B to do X to A?
That kind of inversion has a great deal of utility now in the times of Presidential transition in shedding light upon the derailment of civil discourse in the discussion of President G.W. Bush.
The shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad, Iraq this past week could hardly have been a better illustration of how wrong the apprehension of Bush has been.
We've been deluged with news media reports of celebratory responses to the news of the shoe assault. No doubt that happened, to some degree. Perhaps even to a somewhat considerable degree. But it hasn't been anything like the universal sentiment that has been portrayed.
While beyond the comprehension of the Bush-hating news media, much of the world has been dismayed by the assault. And that's what it was, in reality: an assault upon a lawful head of state. Despite the insistence by thousands of unhappy Americans declaring the Bush "isn't my president", the real-world fact is that he is the President of the United States, and an attack upon him is still an attack upon a head of state.
The none-too-great lethality of the attack is of some import, but not as much as the basic fact: The Chief Executive of the US was assaulted.
Fine, now let's apply my dad's inversion therapy, updated for 21st Century American politics.
If an "enraged" Iraqi journalist, devasted over the desolation of his destroyed country after President Obama precipitously removes the American military despite the Iraqi (and world's) asking that they stay long enough to complete securing the victory acheived in mid-2008, beans Obama with his footwear, will that be a happy, even hilarious chuckle moment for the same folks who are displaying such unconcern, if not outright pleasure, for the same thing being perpetrated against Bush?
The obvious other flipper is to look at what happened to the thrower, who now, not incidentally, has apologized for his juvenile behavior (hear about that on CNN? The Trib's front page? Thought not.). His arms were not pulled out. His genitals were not removed with a torch. His eyes are still in their sockets and fully operational. And his wife was not raped and dismembered in front of him by a dozen Iraqi soldiers.
In fact, he was simply taken into a functional legal system and is going through the process, as he no doubt knew in advance would happen.
He knew he wouldn't be harmed. He knew he'd be fine.
He, better than practically anything else on the front pages, showed that we'd won, and the war against Iraq was over.
So the cacklers are going to go whistling right past the obvious: the "war" is over. The good guys won.
And George Bush just laughed at yet another crazed assault upon the guy who made the assault survivable.