It happens everyday, but not least in the highest reaches of government. In the highest reaches of government, people are quick to clean their hands of any potential wrong doing with a turn of phrase. The matter does not have to be complicated. If I am a diplomat and I say that we don’t like X, and if you do Y, we will do Z, this only constitutes a threat if the other side does not like Z and it is not to your advantage that they do Y. But if you say it like that, your hands are washed of whatever wrong was done with Y, and if you do Z given Y, you can effectively establish trust – all under the guise of whatever protection Z feigns to provide (e.g. xyz=(Ukraine,Syria,Economy).
Matters are not as cut and dried as national broadcasts would like, and in relations, both domestic and foreign, such implicit agreements are the norm rather than the exception. Still I cannot but beg to maintain that if there is to be integrity to the system – and if our leaders are to know the first as well as the last thing as to what is going on – then we need a system of coordination which is forthright and does not save face for the sake of future votes, protecting against future spin, and living in a reality of appearances which cannot be sustained given a more intelligent populous.
The mentally ill need care, not suspicion. Yet a visit with your therapist can occasionally feel like an interrogation as they try to cover their backs from the unknown. And it’s not like their performance goes undetected. The mentally ill are simultaneously some of the smartest people in the world; though they may be treated as minds of inconsequential validity, rest assured that they are observant and capable of unwanted inference. How to treat such talent while protecting society – that is a very difficult balance.
The foremost indicator of future violence is past violence, but all too often people are buried under suspicion without any past violence at all. Should there be a need to put someone under suspicion for their condition, it must be the result of an evaluation done without suspicion, since suspicion on the part of the doctor leads to fear on the part of the patient, which leads to suspicion on the part of the system. Once there is suspicion on the part of the system, it is often too late for a patient to lead a normal life, for they will face an uphill battle for most of their lives.
It is a fact that mass shootings put more power in the hands of psychiatrists, and these psychiatrists are not blind to the scrutiny they will face if – albeit a remote possibility – a terrorist slips their grasp. But we should not ignore the fact that mass shootings make up a relatively insignificant portion of the death rate, despite their sensationalism, and a far greater number of lives are lost to scrutiny than death by bullet – though their stories remain untold.
The Office of the President is the face of the nation and ours is a nation with a big footprint. That footprint extends well into other nations as we willfully take on the task of policing the world from at least the worst of its ills. That life abroad is occasionally neglected and occasionally abused by our Presidents, but it really can be neither if we want America at its best.
While the Office of the President is consistently fighting domestic political battles which make them more narrow-minded than we can afford our administrations to be, America is busy being America abroad, trying to defend what is right, while fighting the concurrent battle over the visage of America as domineering where it doesn’t belong.
It is the latter where our president can be decidedly understanding or standoffish and in the past they have been both, but in the interconnected world which America built, we cannot afford the latter when it is not overwhelmingly due. Our current president has done well with diplomacy, despite occasional botched communications, and we can’t afford anything less from our future presidents.
The presidents of the near future – born and raised before the rise of the internet – threaten to misunderstand a younger generation who are to make up America and much of the first-world, in short order. And it is a persistent and perpetrated misunderstanding, which is America’s greatest foe.