A Lesson from Ralphie for Obama


Justifiably, President Obama is being heavily criticized for lacking a strategy to deal with the menacing reality represented by ISIL. Certainly, a thorough and well thought out strategy is needed to address this overwhelmingly daunting and extremely complex challenge. However, the sorely needed first step in this process is a very simple one that most learn in grade school – i.e. The only way to effectively cope with a bully is to confront him head on.


Arguably, the most well-known illustration of this is found in the Holiday classic movie, A Christmas Story, when the movie’s central character, Ralphie, deals with his nemesis, Scut Farkus and his “toadie”, Grover Dill. I recognize the element of absurdity in comparing a wonderfully amusing story to a deadly serious reality but, that aside, I believe it offers a clear illustration.

“Hey, ISIL! King’s X, OK?!”

As it became apparent that ISIL is not the “JV Team in Lakers uniforms” that Obama characterized them as being, initially, it seemed that the President was trying a tactic with them that kids used in Ralphie’s era. It was known as calling King’s X. Basically, it was used as a cry in children’s games to call a truce due to the competition starting when you weren’t quite ready or you wanted to remove your glasses first or you were out of breath or you had developed a side ache or … This ploy was fine when competing with friends but any attempt to use it with a bully would result, simply, in the bully beating the soup out of you.


Scut Farkus and his “toadie” Gordon Dill

In A Christmas Story, Ralphie’s first encounter with Farkus and Dill occurs when he’s walking in his neighborhood with two friends and his brother. Although Ralphie and his companions are in an environment they considered to be safe, since they’re completely unprepared for the intimidating confrontation with these bullies, they end up being frightened, humiliated and physically abused. After that, Ralphie and his guys try avoidance tactics, including using alternate routes to and from school. But, Farkus and his “toadie” continue to successfully seek them out and since they remained, otherwise, unprepared for being accosted by their antagonists, the result is the same. This cycle is finally broken when Farkus attacks Ralphie in a place Ralphie thought was absolutely safe, up to that point … a yard right next to his home. Although it was an instinctive strategy that he carried out, rather than one he had planned; when Ralphie was brought to tears by Farkus nailing him in the face with a snowball, ordering him around and taunting him by calling him crybaby; Ralphie’s reaction was 100% effective. Ralphie had, finally, had enough. He tackled Farkus and just started “whaling the tar out of him”. When Dill tried to intervene, Ralphie punched him and he ran away. All this didn’t just break the cycle, it brought it to an end altogether.


As I said earlier, while I recognize the element of absurdity in comparing a wonderfully amusing story to a deadly serious reality, I believe it offers a clear illustration that the only way to effectively cope with a bully is to confront him head on. The U.S. continuing without a thorough and well thought out strategy to deal with ISIL will end in disaster. Likewise, attempting to cry out, “Hey, ISIL! King’s X, OK?!”, will result in calamity. And, pursuit of any and all tactics meant to avoid the menacing reality represented by ISIL will ultimately end in catastrophic failure. The only path to successfully overcoming this overwhelmingly daunting and extremely complex challenge is to say “Enough! and to tackle ISIL head on.


In closing, I want to take this illustration out of the realm of the absurd. The bullies in A Christmas Story are semi-fictional characters, who are kids. After being called out as bullies, there’s a good chance that youngsters like Scut Farkus and Gordon Dill would have seen the error of their ways and have grown up to be worthwhile members of society. That is not the case with ISIL. Not unlike Scut Farkus, ISIL will invade more and more deeply into places you thought were safe. But, they won’t stop until they arrive in your yard and come into your home to kill you. Being willing to “punch” them or even “whaling the tar out of them” with air strikes and attempting to do so while standing off in the distance, will not be enough. We must be willing to tackle them on the same terms they have in attacking us – i.e. to eliminate them altogether. I believe that when we’re willing to do that, much as Ralphie experienced when he tackled his bully, we will find our friends coming alongside, with their encouragement and support. Even if we have to do this standing alone, though, we must achieve what Ralphie achieved … not just breaking the cycle but bringing it to an end altogether.


Filed under Current Events

2 Responses to A Lesson from Ralphie for Obama

  1. Al

    Spot on, Gary. Too many Christians are being killed by the “Peaceful Religion” (including beheading and other gory attack videos on the Internet almost daily.) Unfortunately for us, our Commander in Chief has no “strategy” except for vacations, private meetings with Muslims, time to make a big deal out of a black gangsta shooting in Missouri, and play golf. Obama, Kerry, and Clinton are being sued now on RICO charges for providing money to Hamas and ISIS through the State Department and United Nations to purchase tactical rockets and other standoff weapons against Israel. The RICO charges also include providing weapons to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt before the national military takeover. Such is our world since we toppled Sadam and then left the mess in Iraq along with the Brits (who appear to be headed down the same road of foreign policy failure.)

    We have no strong foreign policy or military leadership left in the Administration Branch. SECDEF Chuck Hagel is a political assignee, appears to put his political party before our country’s national security, and I think is completely inept at his job.

    There are a number of open letters to our politicians from US Special Forces personnel (retired and active duty warriors) recently that share your observations about dealing with [international] bullies [evil people] and the consequences of doing nothing.

    Some of the most evil ISIS/ISIL attacks and killings are being accomplished by Western Society ISIS/ISIL militants who were European and US citizens until they joined the terrorists’ jihad campaign in Iraq and Syria. What if they had stayed here to conduct their acts of evil? How many more are here waiting to attack us? We know that ISIL sympathizers and trained militants are already here. It would be naive to think otherwise, especially with an “open” southern border policy.

    Be prepared for more events here and pray hard that people will get out and vote for new US Senate leadership in November. Thanks for a strong position on national security and your thoughts on dealing with international tyrant “thugs”. The evil is back in our faces…it never left.

    • With all the nuts who are carrying U.S. or EU passports who are going to fight with ISIL and planning to come back here + our porous borders, it’s not a question of if 9/11 is about to happen again, it’s a question of when. This time will be exponentially worse.