My latest is up at PJ Media and in it, I return to familiar territory; trying to debunk the notion that President Obama is less of an American, or doesn’t love America, or is anti-American.
First, a couple of excerpts:
But the question isn’t whether the president’s vision of what American can be is different from that of most of the country; the question revolves around that vision’s legitimacy as emanating from deep within the American soul, and whether it fulfills a longing in the American heart for “true” justice and equality.
The Founders were eminently practical men, well read in the classics, believing they had learned the lessons of history about the dangers of concentrated power and the evil of which all men are capable. It’s what historian Page Smith refers to as a “Classical Christian Consciousness,” where recognition of man’s fallen state as well as a dose of public virtue were more likely to keep us free than the alternative. This he described as a “Secular Democratic Consciousness,” heavily influenced by the European enlightenment, saw man as basically good and his faults correctable.
Having faith in the ultimate goodness of mankind and the perfectibility of its institutions was the vision of the Jeffersonians, while the majority of the Founders believed in creating safeguards against the depredations of evil men and guaranteeing the natural rights of citizens. The resulting clash over the centuries of these two visions as the best way to achieve justice and liberty has defined an America that lurches between spurts of progressive reform and conservative restraint and retrenchment.
Barack Obama’s ideas are firmly rooted in the former of these visions. It is a belief that government institutions are perfectable; that the unintended consequences of his massive efforts to tear down the old and build up the new in health care, finance, the free market, and other areas are controllable and indeed, necessary in order to achieve the ultimate goal of creating a “more perfect union.” Whatever huge dislocations arise because of his policies must be accepted so that his notions of “justice” and “equality” can evolve.
It has become de rigueur on the right to complain that Obama wants to turn America into a Euro-socialist paradise. That’s half true. The president wants to use some of the tools that European social democracies use in order to fulfill his vision for America.
That vision, as I point out in the piece, is 100% American. The 19th century Utopian societies that sprang up around the country were ultimately efforts to change America into a society that was perfectly just, equal, and tolerant. From the Shakers to the Transcendentalists, the connecting thread was to alter the definition of what it meant to be American, and in the process, a new society would be created where all could share in the nation’s bounty, free from prejudice and racism as well as capitalisms more unattractive features.
Beyond the Utopians, there is the progressive movement of the early 20th century who believed in the perfectibility of human institutions like government through the application of scientific principles, and the “New Left” ideological forebears of the president who truly sought something closer to a Euro-democracy than we have now. Obama’s vision for America was influenced by all of these and more.
The real beef people have with this piece is simple; I don’t hate Obama enough. I don’t think he’s a Communist, or that he’s Muslim, or that he wasn’t born here, or that he wears women’s underpants. I can’t see his horns or his tail, I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that he is deliberately trying to destroy America, and I don’t believe that he is the worst president in history.
Of course, that was the point in writing the piece - an article in which I am very, very tough on the president but realize that most of his agenda has, in one form or another, been pushed since the New Deal. Just because socialist countries have national health care doesn’t make those who advocate it socialists. There are plenty of conservatives who support Medicare and Social Security - two programs in one form another that are very popular in socialist countries. Does that make those conservatives socialists?
It pains me to think that Obama’s “not American enough” critics actually believe you can quantify patriotism, or are truly ignorant of our history and are unaware that Obama’s vision for a different America is not new at all. What’s changed is that he was able to soft pedal his radicalism, hiding it brilliantly with euphemistic rhetoric and fuzzy headed talk of “change.”. That, and the extraordinary weakness of McCain’s campaign as well as the previous 8 years of cronyism, mismanagement, and incompetence.
It is disheartening to read the comments to my article. What possible good is done by ignorantly pushing the idea that one can judge another American’s love of country, or dedication to its core principles? If Obama were as bad as many of these numbskulls say he is, why aren’t they out starting a revolution? Why don’t they grab their guns and “take their country back?” If we are in as much danger as they say, we can’t wait for the next presidential election, we must act NOW!
I know that if I believed what they say they believe, I wouldn’t be sitting in front of this monitor and keyboard. I’d be out fomenting rebellion. And if fat old me would do it, why not them?
The reason is that they are not serious about their language. It sounds good, makes them feel important, but in the end, their talk of Obama being a Communist and ruining the country is drama. Their dull, drab, hopeless existence needs excitement so they pretend their president is something he is not - sort of like 13 year old drama queens who need attention. Otherwise, they’d be in the streets rioting and doing everything possible to get the man responsible for “ruining the country” out of the White House.
I am not a drama queen. I prefer reality and reasoned debate (usually). Those who have disappeared down this impossibly deep rabbit hole need to start clawing their way out or the vast majority of the country who doesn’t think Obama a socialist or a communist, and who don’t think he is deliberately trying to destroy the country, will make their views known in no uncertain terms when they vote.
And nobody rational votes for anyone supported by crazy people.