OMG! Obama Shook Raul Castro’s Hand! Assume Outrage!

OMG, they touched! I hope Obama got his cootie shot first.That President Barack Obama
shook Cuban President Raul Castro’s hand at Nelson Mandela’s
funeral is currently considered a “top story” by Google. Actual
physical contact between U.S. and Cuban leaders is a
rare thing
, The Telegraph notes:

The handshake between the two historic enemies came as they
attended a ceremony in Johannesburg to celebrate the late South
African leader’s ability to foster reconciliation.

The gesture – which comes despite half a century of hostilities
– came as Mr Obama made his way to a podium to deliver a speech. It
is only the second time ever that a US president has shaken the
hands of a Cuban Communist leader. President Bill Clinton was the
first to do so in 2000 after a lunch during a United Nations summit
in New York, when he shook hands with Mr Castro’s brother,

On that occasion, the White House initially denied the handshake
had taken place but later backtracked, saying it had been
instigated by Mr Castro, who had approached Mr Clinton. Unlike the
latest occasion, however, the exchange was not photographed.

Under diplomatic protocols established years ago, Cuba’s
president and Washington’s representatives are rarely invited to
the same events. If they do, the meeting is choreographed so that
they are not likely to meet face to face.

Subsequently Twitter seemed to turn weird in a way I hadn’t
experienced before. There’s an assumption now that folks on the
right reacted to this incident with faux outrage. I follow folks
across the political spectrum and I’ve seen tweets eye-rolling at
possible conservative objections to the handshake from tweeters on
the left. Oddly, though, I’m not seeing the actual faux outrage
from the right. Time quickly tried to steal from
BuzzFeed’s playbook and
posted a list
of people “freaking out” about the handshake on
Twitter. But many of the responses are actually just sarcastic
jokes or assumptions about the right’s outrage. Maybe that’s the
point, and it flew over my head, too. It is an interesting comment
about our use of social media that we’ve come to expect so much
pearl-clutching at everything politicians or celebrities do that we
now just automatically assume it. (BuzzFeed
itself simply posted a couple of pictures and an animated GIF of
the handshake. Meanwhile, Fox News’
on the handshake seems to lack much outrage.)

After the handshake, Obama’s speech at the funeral
oppressive governments:

“Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for
their political beliefs; and are still persecuted for persecuted
for what they look like, and how they worship and who they love,”
the president said.

“There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy
of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest
reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing
inequality,” Obama added. “There are too many leaders who claim
solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate
dissent from their own people.”

More Reason on Cuba here and a recent argument to
end the U.S. embargo against Cuba is

UPDATE: And right after I posted this, social
media actually does start up the outrage machine over the president

shooting a selfie
at the funeral.

from Hit & Run

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