- Posted September 13, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Does the US of A Have a Sally Field Complex?
Is the US diplomatic corps, the State Department, and the current Administration laboring under a Sally Field Complex?
Fo my younger readers you may not recall or understand the reference to Sally Field. Sally, 1st captured the hearts of television watchers as the perky "Gidget" enamored with teen heartthrob "Moondoggie" played by Stephen Mines. The TV series which aired in 1965 was a take-off of the Sandra Dee and James Darrin "Gidget" movies.
Later Field won new fans as the unflappable Sister Bertrille in "The Flying Nun".
But it is her movie work most remember.
She won the Oscar for both "Norma Rae" and "Places in the Heart". Although many may recognize her as Bandit's love interest in the "Smokey and the Bandit" franchise.
It was during her 2nd Oscar win acceptance speech to which I am alluding when I speak about the Sally Field Complex. In accepting her award, Field said, "I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn't feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!" The last lines have been truncated into the cultural lexicon as "You like me, you really, really like me."
This is the attitude that is pervasive in the Sally Field Complex. This feeling, this need to be loved, to be liked.
We have been watching it play out over the last year or so even on the campaign trail. The talking heads and the media seem to be putting a high priority on the "likability" factor. Qualifications, ability, know-how, experience all seem to take a backseat to the question of whether this candidate or that candidate is one which you "want to have a beer with".
So is it any wonder that a similar pervasiveness of wanting to be liked has infected our diplomatic corps?
It was brought out rather poignantly by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday when she asked how 4 members of our foreign relations team could have been killed by terrorist thugs in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton noted that this was a nation we worked to free from the oppression of Mohammar Qhadafi. She was even more pointed on the fact it happened in Benghazi, a city that Ambassador Chris Stevens, who lost his life, took a particular interest in helping to liberate last year.
It almost seemed to me as I watched and listened to the Secretary that she seemed to almost be saying to the Libyans, "I thought you liked us. I thought you really, really liked us."
Then of course there is the separate, but just as disenheartening situatioon in Egypt. During the Arab Spring, Americans were at the forefront of support for the people of Egypt in their bid to rid themselves of strongman Hosni Mubarak. Yet now for the 2nd day our embassy in Egypt has been assailed.
The statement released prior to the violence in Libya and the murders there by members of the US Embassy in Egypt seemed to be appealing to the protesters and apologizing for some not-yet-known American taking advantage of his 1st Amendment free speech rights to criticize and say nasty things about the Prophet Mohammed in what was an obscure YouTube video. It again seemed as if the statement was a twist on the why don't you "like us, really, really like us" mindset.
When will Americans learn that the world is not going to like us or love us...even if people across the globe see us as a city on a hill shining the light of freedom and justice?
When will Americans learn that the strategy of "winning the hearts and minds" of a people which we have been in conflict, war, are not going to suddenly turn into Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm?
We have seen how well the campaign to win the "hearts and minds" of the Afghani people is working. There have been more deaths of US service members in the last 3 1/2 years than the entire 8 years before.
Is our government, our politicians, our people trapped and infected with a Sally Field Complex?
From the Cornfield, perhaps it's time for a "come to Jesus" meeting.
Translation: perhaps its time we accept and own up to the truth. No matter what we do, how we behave or how much money we throw around, there is no guarantee, no promise and little hope that billions across the globe will ever "like us, really, really like us."