Some two thousand years ago, the Messiah journeyed into Jerusalem. He came as the people’s redeemer, to expiate their sins. As he drew near Bethpage and Bethany, he sent two disciples before him to fetch a tethered colt. He would mount the colt and ride it into the holy city to sounds of hosannas from the faithful — and to the rebukes of the Pharisees.
Some two thousand years henceforth, Palm Sunday 2016, Barack Hussein Obama, political redeemer of the secular left, arrived in communist Cuba aboard Air Force One. It is an island once rich in the faith, only to be annihilated by Fidel and Raul Castro and their war on religion. “Heaven… right here in front of me,” was how Thomas Merton, the atheist-communist who became a devout Catholic monk, once described pre-Castro’s Cuba. “Every morning… I could find my way quickly to any one of a dozen churches as old as the seventeenth century. Almost as soon as I went in the door I could receive Communion, if I wished… and every fifteen or twenty minutes a new Mass was starting at a different altar…. Everywhere I turned, there was someone ready to feed me with the infinite strength of the Christ Who loved me.”
That was the wondrous, pious Cuba the Castro brothers destroyed. And it is the Castro boys that Barack Obama, product of a pro-communist/pro-Castro mother and father and a literal Communist Party USA mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, is eager to embrace — and to forgive. Really, I’m sure that in his heart of hearts, Barack agrees with the Castros that America is the side that needs to be forgiven. America is the aggressor, the sinner that stands in need of reparation.
That being the case, I’m equally sure that Obama felt no shame when Raul Castro snubbed him by not showing up to greet him when his plane landed — literally as 50 Cuban dissidents were arrested by the totalitarian state’s police goons. It was a humiliation, a disgrace, but a humiliation and disgrace that Obama, America’s president of fundamental transformation, no doubt felt was deserved.
One modern Pharisee who rebuked Obama for this embarrassment is Donald Trump. Mercifully taking a break from torching Republicans as liars, losers, idiots, morons, and chokers, and from encouraging his own disciples to “knock the hell” and “knock the crap out” of dissenters at his rallies, Trump justly slammed Obama for the Castro slight.
“Wow, President Obama just landed in Cuba, a big deal, and Raul Castro wasn’t even there to greet him,” Trump tweeted shortly before Obama blithely strolled inside the glorious Havana cathedral that the Castros have controlled for over half a century. “He [Raul] greeted Pope and others. No respect.”
It was the best Tweet from the Tweet-master/insult-master in months. No one can sling it like Donald Trump. And he wasn’t finished.
Speaking to an audience in Palm Beach, Trump ratcheted up the criticism: “He landed in Cuba and Raul Castro… who’s the head of Cuba, wasn’t there to greet him.” Trump’s acolytes howled loudly as he continued the Obama mockery. “Folks, what are we doing? What are we doing? Here’s how a thing like that is supposed to work: Number one, he [Obama] has his people call up and say, ‘Who’s going to be greeting the president?’ If they say nobody, you don’t go until somebody’s there. And the head of Cuba, who was there for the pope and he was there for other dignitaries that come in, but he wasn’t there for the president of the United States. I mean, we are amateur-hour folks! [more loud laughter]… Obama should have turned the plane around and left.”
Trump was spot-on. He continued: “And I’m not knocking Castro — I mean, if they can get away this stuff, it’s great, they’re making a great deal.” Kind of like the deals the Iranians get from Obama, said Trump, fittingly framing Obama as a dupe and sucker to tyrants.
Of course, Donald Trump is exactly right. But Trump is mistaken if he believes the mockery will teach Obama a lesson. No, Barack has shielded himself from the Donald’s chastisements. His face he has set like flint from buffets and spitting. His cheeks he has given to those who would pluck his beard, his back to those who would beat him.
No, Barack Obama no doubt judges that America has been in the wrong toward Cuba since 1959. Let the Donald and other Pharisees cast stones. Barack knows that he has left a giant glass house 70 miles from the shore of Havana.
President Barack Obama has gone to Cuba this Holy Week to make reparation and to atone for America’s vast catalogue of sins against the communist slave state. He holds his head high, his chin up. He shall not be put to shame — only his nation.