Friday, June 19, 2009

Is President Obama an Ignorant Humanitarian or a Devious Pontificator?

President Obama took office about 5 months ago. In that time we have gone from knowing only what the main-stream media permitted us to know (next to nothing) to affirming everything the same media outlets told us was nothing more than Republican rhetoric and baseless defamation of his character. The question before us is whether Obama is an ignorant humanitarian or a devious pontificator. To answer we must examine his actions, not his words, and juxtapose those actions against his experiences.

In this interrogative we cannot rely upon his speech to formulate our answer because words are only prose and, while they may invoke sentiment or form a call to action, they tell us nothing of a person’s true motivation. However, speaking may be evaluated as an action when it is derived from some stimulus, i.e. responding to post-election violence in Iran. Any demarcated position within that speech is meaningless unless it is followed by actions consistent with what is declared. Likewise, an absence of conviction or call to action within a speech is material because it is immediately followed by the pledged inaction.

Experiences are imperative to our evaluation because they form the philosophical basis for personal beliefs and therefore formulate how we will react to various stimuli. For example, children taken from abusive parents will often hoard food even when placed in a caring foster family. This is because they believe food is scarce (or at least what will be provided to them is scarce) and in the presence of a surplus they will react by hiding that food to prevent their anticipated hunger. Similarly, a landlord that has experienced tenants that default on their rent will take future action to ensure prompt rent payments, e.g. screening tenants’ according to their credit scores and previous rental history, following up immediately when rent is past due, etc. Experience is said to be the best teacher; therefore, we must evaluate Obama’s experiences to determine the body of knowledge from which he formulates his opinions and perspectives that motivate his actions.

During the Presidential Campaign, inflammatory sermons delivered by the pastor of Obama’s church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, surfaced. His sermons blamed America for causing the 9/11 attacks. He is also an obvious anti-Semite as evinced by past sermons and recent comments attributing “them Jews” to his inability to speak with President Obama. Furthermore, he is a well known liberation theologian, a philosophy that originated out of Marxism in Africa. Despite objections to the contrary, the Rev. Wright controversy is a cornerstone of the Obama analysis because it provides both experiential and action bases for our understanding. Obama stated during the campaign that he had never heard the subversive sermons of Rev. Wright; however, his 20 year membership in the church suggests otherwise. Can anyone honestly believe he never heard such sermons in the course of 20 years when every public appearance of Rev. Wright has been fraught with hate? If he is so freely vile in public appearances how could he be less so in the comfort of his own church? Therefore, the experiences afforded to Obama through his relationship with Rev. Wright, a religious authority figure for Obama, elucidates Obama’s proclivity for anti-Semitism and American self-loathing. In spite of attempts to distance himself from Wright, Obama’s actions indicate his true intentions: he was a 20 year member of Wright’s church and initially indicated a loyalty to Wright during the campaign saying he was like a member of his family and he could not disown Rev. Wright anymore than he could disown his own grandmother. Shortly thereafter, under heavy political pressure, Obama “officially” terminated his association with the church citing the political cost of maintaining his ties to Wright. Notably, he indicated no philosophical dissonance in his choice to separate from the Wright church.

For those inclined to dismiss the Obama-Wright relationship, recent events highlight its relevancy. In his “legendary” speech to the Muslim world in Egypt, Obama issued support for a Palestinian state solution for peace in Israel. On its own, this is not unjustified, but the terms upon which he proposed its occurrence are suspect. He expected the involvement of Hamas and an end to Israeli settlements (in the land they currently own). Hamas is an Islamic Terrorist organization with the destruction of Israel its raison d’etre. Expecting a peaceful outcome between Israel and a faction formed for the purpose of its destruction is more unlikely than the Klu Klux Klan doing a charity event for low income Hispanic children with the Black Panthers. In the same speech Obama gave our self-professed mortal enemy, Iran, the green light to pursue nuclear power (provided they don’t use it for weapons – that’s sure to work). Additionally, in this speech and others, Obama apologized to the World for the United States. Nowhere was defense offered for Israel, nor did he travel to Israel during his visit to the Middle East. Thus far, his actions, and inactions, have reinforced the espousals in his speech: not traveling to Israel, no action against Iran, and previously erasing “terrorist” from the vernacular of reference to organizations like Hamas. Taken alone, Obama’s actions and pending actions (based upon the Egypt speech) might be construed as a novel approach to foreign relations in the Middle East. Yet when examined through the perspicacity of Obama’s Rev. Wright experiences his motivations are exposed and an approach to foreign policy becomes instead a logical outcome of his learned philosophy of American self-hate and anti-Semitism.

Another major facet of Obama’s experience comes from his days as a community organizer. While working on behalf of the impoverished and “disadvantaged” may certainly be meritorious, it is the specific actions during that service that are worth further review. We know that Obama worked to meet the needs of the community during his service, mostly by leveraging the community members to force the local government into action. He was also a co-litigator in a lawsuit against Citibank citing claiming they were using racially motivated redlining practices in his Chicago neighborhoods to deny loans (to people who have since proven they couldn’t afford them). Under the Community Reinvestment Act the courts ruled that Citibank had to lend to residents in those neighborhoods. We are also well aware of Obama’s involvement in ACORN – an organization purportedly committed to helping low-income communities but currently under investigation for misappropriating membership dues (paid by low-income members), misallocating government funds, and voter registration fraud. Through ACORN Obama learned and subsequently taught the methods of Saul Alinsky.

These actions collectively help us connect the dots of Obama’s current proclivities. His penchant for wealth redistribution is an obvious outcome of his experience dealing with people that are underprivileged and believe the only path to success is by taking from the more prosperous via government. We also see how Obama desires greater government control over industry (as in the Citibank case) in order to “benefit the working class.” Most importantly, we see him modeling Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals in nearly all aspects of his approach. Alinsky argued that any means can be justified so long as it leads to the specific ends. In other words, if you can achieve your desired end then you get to proclaim that your means was justified. This amounts to moral relativism, or revisionist morality. Furthermore, Alinksy posited that radicals cannot win based on factual argument; instead, they must polarize their opponents and win on the basis of character assassinations. Key to their success was the label they gave to their ends: socialism, anarchy, and Marxism would turn people away; they needed to use words like “fairness,” “equality,” “hope,” and “change.” Sound familiar? In addition, Alinksy noted that radicalism would be ineffectual during times of prosperity, societal disquiet is needed to fuel the movement (such as an economic recession). All of these characteristics are modeled in Obama’s approach to politics. This is why he attempts to discredit and lambaste Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and FOX. He knows he cannot win against logic and reason.

Still wondering if Obama is an ignorant humanitarian or a devious pontificator? He might certainly be a humanitarian if judged by his community organizing background alone. Under this scenario, his present actions as President would be driven solely by his zeal for helping the poor, the working class. He would be ignorant because no matter where you look around the World, similar efforts in other countries have never succeeded. This isn’t to say socialist and communist countries aren’t functional, it merely means that they still have poverty, homelessness, and unemployment problems despite their efforts. He would also be standing in opposition to the proverbial teaching, “Give a man a fish and he eats for the day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” Therefore, he would be ignorant to truth, history, and current circumstances in other parts of the World. Finally, it is impossible to give much credence to the position Obama is a humanitarian. After all, if he was so motivated then why does he not give to the poor his millions in book revenue and his sizeable salary as President? If corporate CEOs are not entitled to their compensation by virtue of their vast proportion in comparison to the lowest paid workers, then why is Obama keeping his?

Therefore, we are left with devious pontificator. His devious nature is exposed through his use of Alinskyesque techniques to achieve his ends, and retroactively declaring his means justified. We also witness numerous speeches wherein he tells the public what they want to hear, but acts in opposition to his rhetoric. For instance, he claimed publicly that he didn’t want to own GM but then his administration took an ownership stake in the company. If he didn’t want the government to control GM then he should have left the normal bankruptcy process prevail – the government did not have to take over GM. Recently, he proclaimed that his healthcare approach was not socialized medicine, but either the Harvard educated lawyer doesn’t know the definition of Socialism or he is lying. He vocally invites bipartisanship, but never acts accordingly. At Notre Dame he called for debate by all sides on the abortion issue, but has routinely taken a hardline pro-abortion position in spite of considerable opposition and no unanimity amongst the opposing viewpoint. By keeping his considerable wealth he also clearly does not believe the redistributive tenets he espouses. Instead of repaying taxpayers for the TARP funds that were returned, his administration wants to use that money to gain greater public control of our nation’s financial institutions. Despite ample evidence his stimulus plan is not working, and the majority opposition to it, he continues to pursue it. All of this amounts to a government power grab in an effort in no way motivated by the “common good.” Instead, he is just another power-hungry tyrant that wants to be at the head of a government that has complete control of its citizens and industries. His czars will continue to ensure the system of checks and balances is circumvented to preclude any authority other than his own. He will continue his frequent public appearances to criminalize capitalism, slander the naysayers, and tout the benefits of government control of all aspects of commerce. Hidden under his veil of purported social equality are his true motivations: personal power and, secondarily, reparations. Obama’s prior experiences and actions beget his devious pontification. I’ll leave you with the words he spoke following the withdrawal of Health and Human Affairs nominee Tom Daschle from consideration upon learning of his tax improprieties (emphasis added), “I don't want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards, one for powerful people, and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes.” In case you missed it, he is one of those powerful people; you and I are the “ordinary folks.”

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