Okay, I'm as cautious as the next person and I admit that when I first heard that President Obama was not meeting with any world leaders at the United Nations, it gave me pause as to what the strategic thinking here might be. But for the umpteenth morning I awoke to cable news bickering about why Obama isn't meeting with any world leaders. For God's sake, give it a rest already! Is it part of the job, yes... could it be bad optics, maybe... does anyone out here in the real world give a rat's ass... NO!
Yes, this is a story in as much as it gives the media something to harp about but for those of us out here living in a pay check-to pay check world, whether or not President Obama met with Morsi or Netanyahu or Princess Leia really has no affect on our daily lives. As long as he's getting the job done behind the scenes (and on foreign policy most people seem to think that he is), we could care less about meaningless photo ops, which is all these so called "bilateral meetings" really are.
I have a 70+-year-old diabetic mother with early stages of Alzheimer's, a 70+-year-old step-father with prostate cancer who are both on Social Security and scared to death about what this election could mean for them and the future of their healthcare and overall well-being. Neither one of them cares whether or not Obama sat down to shake hands in front of a camera with the leader of Libya. They want to know what Obama and Romney's plans are to help them stay alive for a little while longer and to keep some semblance of a quality of life.
I have a sister, a niece and a brother-in-law who all have families to care for and who have been looking for work for over a year. Their main concern right now is being able to keep a roof over their heads, feed their children and maintain some sense of dignity. They want to know what Obama and Romney plan to do about jobs in this country, they don't care if Obama "snubbed" Netanyahu! I have a nephew that has had two (2) tours in Afghanistan. He wants to know what Obama and Romney's plans are for the future of the military. He's worried to death that the next time he leaves his family may be the last time he sees them and he wants to know if he has to spend the rest of his youth looking over his shoulder for another war coming down the tubes. He really doesn't give a feather's worth of weight if Obama didn't stick around to shake hands with Merkel. People are facing real problems and hardships out here and it is so disheartening to hear the media harp day after day after day on such an empty story in such struggling times.
Every time I open a newspaper or turn on my TV, I see one of these foreign leaders sitting in the Oval Office with Obama or every time I read an online story I see a read-out of a phone conversation President Obama has had with the leader of another country. This man talks to these people, visits with these people... all the time! To hear the media rant and rave you would think Obama committed some sin of the universe and the status of our foreign relations will never be the same! I even heard someone on MSNBC (who I won't name) make the ridiculous comparison of how many bilateral meetings George W. Bush had during his 2004 election campaign. Well guess what? Photo-ops with foreign leaders were much more important (and I dare say critical) to Bush back in 2004 because he was getting taken to the woodshed internationally over of the war in Iraq! In fact, I would venture a guess that many foreign leaders who had pictures taken with him during that time might have wished that he had skipped the photo-ops!
I'm not saying this isn't a story (I guess), but what I am saying is that it is not the week-long screech-fest that some in the media are trying to make it out to be. This is a perfect example of election year hype and trying to find something, anything that can potentially make someone on either side look bad.
So my newsflash for the news media, my mother, my step-father, my nephew, my sister, niece and brother-in-law (and me)... and a lot of people out here just like us REALLY don't care about this! So can we all just get over it and focus on something that really matters...like how to make things better for people in this country who seriously need help and who might be the best person to lead them to it!