RUDY GIULIANI’S ROAD RAGE
Rudy Giuliani has been an a vengeful press tour, starting with his (supposedly) impromptu remarks at a luncheon in which he said, “I do not believe the president loves America. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of country.” Later, trying to backpedal from the obvious racial implications of his attack, he said there was no racism there, it’s just that he believes President Obama was under the “influence of communism or socialism in his upbringing.” Oh that makes it better, I’m glad he clarified that.
I always find it interesting when two news stories seem to align thematically. While Mr. Giuliani has snarled his way through the media, the shooting death of Tammy Meyers in Las Vegas after an apparent road rage incident has also dominated the news. As far as I’m concerned, both these stories are about road rage. Mr. Giuliani’s vehicle is the media and his weapon is his mouth.
Road rage is inherently narcissistic. The world shrinks down to one incident, one perceived violation, and whatever ugliness comes out, whatever threats and profanities — even violence on occasion — seems justified. The wider picture, the consequences of rage, the effect on other human beings are never considered because the world has become a narrow space occupied by (usually) only two people.
So Rudy Giuliani has basically decided that President Obama is driving on the wrong side of the road. And any measure of insult is, in his mind, perfectly okay. Even if it makes no sense. Why would someone who doesn’t love America want to be president? The pay isn’t that great, it’s a tough gig, and after a few trips in Air Force One the novelty has worn off. And how does Rudy Giuliani know how President Obama was raised? Did he go over there for Sunday brunch?
Giuliani is now backpedaling again, saying that he didn’t really mean to question the president’s patriotism, he just doesn’t like it when President Obama criticizes some chapters of America’s history. See, this is what happens with road rage — you start to wind down a little, realize you’ve said some stupid things, and then you say more stupid things to try and gloss it over.
Note to Rudy Giuliani: criticism, when done constructively, comes from caring. You want a person, or an establishment, or a country, to be everything they can be. You want them to shine and prosper, reach the limits of their potential. You want them to transcend their history and learn from it. The only way that can happen is if the darker chapters of history are looked at unflinchingly as the lessons they can be.
Meanwhile, we have the opportunity to learn an important lesson from Rudy Giuliani: Rage doesn’t work. It makes people say idiotic things that the perpetrator hopes will wound and draw blood. Nothing has ever gotten better from road rage. Now that we’ve seen this lesson in action, could Mr. Giuliani please pull off the road, go have a nice meal, and some quiet time.