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One Imagination empowers the current and next generation of leaders through written and oral expression. As a collective based in the Long Beach/South Bay area, we believe that through conscious artistic programming, community education and outreach, and leadership development, we can cultivate a world free of hatred, ignorance, injustice, inequality, and oppression.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Do you think Obama made a mistake to bow to Emperor Akihito of Japan?

Okay okay okay. We have bigger issues at hand (like the fact that we're in two wars maybe?) than whether President Obama should have or have not bowed to Japanese Emperor Akihito. But for some reason, conservatives had a lot to say about this:

"I don't know why President Obama thought that was appropriate. Maybe he thought it would play well in Japan. But it's not appropriate for an American president to bow to a foreign one," said conservative pundit William Kristol speaking on the Fox News Sunday program, adding that the gesture bespoke a United States that has become weak and overly-deferential under Obama.

Another conservative voice, Bill Bennett, said on CNN's "State of the Union" program: "It's ugly. I don't want to see it."

"We don't defer to emperors. We don't defer to kings or emperors. The president of the United States -- this coupled with so many apologies from the United States -- is just another thing," said Bennett.

Some conservative critics juxtaposed the image of Obama with one of former US vice president Dick Cheney, who greeted the emperor in 2007 with a firm handshake but no bow.

"I'll bet if you look at pictures of world leaders over 20 years meeting the emperor in Japan, they don't bow," Kristol said.

(taken from Yahoo! News)

Hmm, what do you think? I find it strange that there is no mention of the fact that in Japan bowing is traditionally how two people greet each other, and that it is impolite to not return a bow when someone has bowed to you. In an effort to build stronger relationships with other countries, should the person who represents us all who live in the U.S. not conform to cultural norms out of respect and sensitivity? Just a thought.