I think that many readers will misunderstand my title for this article. I mean it, I'm asking a question: what is wrong, suddenly, with Dennis Rodman, that he has been attacked from coast to coast for trying to ease relations between the United States and North Korea?
Is there some disqualifier that I am unaware of, that an ordinary citizen like Rodman is suddenly not allowed to go on a trip to a problem country, and then come back and talk about it? I searched for quite a few minutes to find an image of Rodman to accompany my article, because I wanted one that reminds us who and what he really is: one of the greatest athletes of all time.
Apparently we have forgotten about the Chicago Bulls; okay, I'm not a great sports fan as it is. But I can remember one thing about Rodman with crystal clarity: he is not a rapist like one basketball star that I could mention. He never attacked fans in the stands, and it isn't because of Rodman that the National Basketball Association now looks like various gangs of thugs and rapists.
So he takes a goodwill trip to North Korea--fine, I would too if I had the chance. If there is one thing that the real people of North Korea need, it is a lowering of the tension between their government and--shall we say--the entire rest of the world? Who doesn't know that there is widespread starvation throughout North Korea? Who doesn't remember the two female journalists who were wrongly detained, to the alarm of their families, until they were rescued by former President Clinton?
Well, Clinton doesn't dress in a bizarre manner so as to attract attention. Clinton hasn't had that much of a checkered career in the media, nor has he disfigured himself in an effort to get attention. Okay, there are a lot of Americans who would like to see Rodman normalize his appearance. But hey, the guy did a nice thing: he traveled to North Korea, met with Kim Jong Un and conducted himself appropriately, and came back with a message: give him a call, Mr. President, he could be a nice guy and maybe we could ratchet it down a bit.
For this, he is dragged through the media and treated as a clown. Selected sound bytes are played to emphasize his slang speech and apparent low-level education. Well, I could go through thousands of sound bytes and pick a few that would make him sound like a college professor. Most people know how easy it is to make someone look bad on television, and Rodman doesn't seem to have very good taste, to say the least.
One thing I remember vividly, however, is an interview that his former wife, Carmen Electra, gave to Ben Stein some years ago. She couldn't say enough good things about Rodman, including how he filled her hotel room with flowers when she was still grieving the loss of her mother.
Electra made another point: people don't know Rodman as he really is. Well folks, if we can mourn because the Republican Party didn't "let Mitt be Mitt," we might hold our media at bay while--just perhaps--President Obama decides to pick up the hot line and actually give Kim Jong Un a call.
Could it hurt? Look, babies in North Korea are dying of starvation, not to mention their parents. Everyone knows that they are in desperate need of food aid. And I have written before that my position is just what it was last year: Give Them The Food!
Forget diplomacy--this is a humanitarian crisis. There is no reason for our supposedly-humane, good-guy country to hide behind protocol and allow people to die slowly, in pain. How would you feel if your child were starving and dying in your arms? Could you call yourself a Christian if you walked away?
Let's get over what Dennis Rodman looks like and how he talks. President Obama, pick up the phone and call Kim Jong Un! And then send them the food!