by John F. Di Leo
The current Resident of the White House is fond of stating something of which he disapproves – say, interrogating terrorists or growing the economy – and closing the point with the words “But that’s not who we are.”
It is condescending, patronizing, smarmy… it is in fact the perfect example of what has always been wrong with the Obama persona – he talks down to his audience, sets up straw men to knock down, sets American against American, in not only class warfare but every other arena as well, all the while mischaracterizing the issue itself. Young against old, healthy against sick, poor against rich, atheist against religious, non-working against working.
Where prior presidents have generally sought to be inclusive, to broaden their political base and unify the nation toward a common goal, the Resident has intentionally driven the nation farther apart. While that has certainly been an unintended result of some past presidencies, only with this one has the White House actively, intentionally sought this result.
Political differences are understandable, and unavoidable, in a republic. The American people have certainly not agreed as a unit on every single point, over the 227 years since our Constitutional government began. But this situation is new – a head of state who tells us, again and again, what we are, and what we are not, and almost always getting it terribly wrong.
Who Are We?
We are the culmination of Western Civilization, the New World that built itself on the progress started by the Old World. The civilization that began in Israel and Greece grew over the centuries, overcoming barbarism, developing through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, reaching its fruition in this first nation on earth in which the individual is truly sovereign.
Barack Obama was raised to stand in opposition to Western Civilization. He doesn’t fit in this country, because Western Civilization is who we are.
We are capitalists, proud participants in an economy guided not by a leviathan government but by the invisible hand of the free market. Our ancestors did not come to America to be tied to our duke’s land like serfs; they came to farm their own fields, to start their own blacksmiths and tailor shops and bakeries and printshops. Our ancestors came to America to work, and thus to prosper. We believe in the economics of Adam Smith and Bastiat, of Washington and Hamilton, the advocates of hard work and all the proper rewards that hard work brings.
But Barack Obama is not a capitalist; he was raised by generations of communists to fight against the free market as hard as he could. His heroes are Lenin, Mao, Che, Alinksy. He would sooner see all Americans equal on the bottom than see Americans enjoying the American Dream in different ways, at differing levels of expanding prosperity. Barack Obama loves the leviathan that true Americans oppose; he is constantly at odds with the American people because a free market nation is what we are.
We are a Judeo-Christian nation, settled by men and women of faith who came to these shores seeking religious freedom. No, not the freedom from religion that the modern Left imagines to be the goal, but the freedom to choose the denomination that we believe is closest to the good Lord’s plan. Catholics fleeing mandatory Protestantism, Protestants fleeing mandatory Catholicism, our original colonies were havens in which people could settle and prosper in safety, be they Anglican or Calvinist or Lutheran or Catholic or Quaker.
The son of a Kenyan muslim and an American atheist, Barack Obama was raised to deride all those who would “cling” to God and Country; he was taught to oppose those of us who honor the faiths of our fathers, those of us who respect and appreciate the gifts that Divine Providence has showered upon this land. The Resident doesn’t understand us because a Judeo-Christian community is what we are.
We are freemen, choosing to live in cities, or suburbs, or the country, to whichever our moods and our personalities draw us. We may choose to peaceably assemble, or not to. We may choose to travel alone or with others, in car or bus or train. We are not a homogeneous nation in which an all-powerful government assigns us our schools and our jobs, as in Lenin’s Russia, or government mandates public transport, as in Ghent, Dubrovnik or Venice. We like our cars, because we like the freedom to go where we want to go, no matter whether enough others like the same route to merit a rail line or not.
But Barack Obama fights the automobile, because he believes the government should control the flow of people, from work to home, from home to work. He loves the rail line and the bus route; it’s so much easier to build successful government edifices when you can ensure that the people will travel through them. He doesn’t understand the American love of the freedom that the personal car provides; he will never appreciate the fiercely independent streak of the American heart.
We are producers of energy, in every worthwhile form we can find. We Americans are oil drillers and coal miners, we fell trees and build nuclear power plants. We know, instinctively, that for America to succeed as a manufacturing giant, we MUST have sufficient energy to power our factories, distribution centers, trucks and ships. We employ millions in the energy sector, from the plains of Texas and Oklahoma to the mountains of West Virginia and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
But Barack Obama was raised in the incubator of environmental alarmism. His heroes spent decades making outrageous and ridiculous predictions that only a liberal could believe, and he bought the fable, hook, line and sinker. He stands against productivity (productivity produces success, and wealth, and different levels of achievement for each person. How dare it?!). He stands against not only the energy, but the industry that depends upon that energy. A productive, vigorous nation is what we are; he will never understand or endorse our energetic support of the energy sector.
We are a giant in the world economy, a dominant force for good, as a role model and trading partner. We are proud of this role as leader of the free world, and we are committed to supporting our allies and protecting our interests abroad. We honor our legitimate treaties, we obey the rules of war and of peace. We are proud of our many friends all over the world – Great Britain, Canada, Israel, Australia, so many friends – and we do our part to continue to deserve that friendship in the interests of peace, commerce, and freedom. A good and true friend on the world scene – that’s who we are.
But Barack Obama’s allies are not our allies; his enemies are not our enemies. He was raised to sympathize with Castro’s Cuba, Arafat’s PLO, Brezhnev’s Russia. He has chafed at the bit throughout his presidency, hating pretending to like our allies, hating pretending to dislike our enemies. He has worked to drive wedges through our friendships with Britain, Israel, Canada… and he has worked to weaken our opposition to islamofascist terror and our longtime global rivals. And he will to continue in these directions every day that he has the power to do so.
We are supporters of a volunteer military, proud servicemen and veterans, or proud neighbors and descendants of veterans. Our liberty was won by the Continental Army, and we re-formed our government – through the ratification of the Constitution in 1788 – largely for the purpose of enabling an honorable relationship with our honorable servicemen. Our nation’s history is therefore intertwined with our military’s in a way different from most countries’. We love and respect our servicemen, and desire to show that respect and gratitude with as generous a combination of compensation, benefits, and retirement that a struggling nation can afford. That’s who we are.
But Barack Obama was raised in opposition to the American military. His family, friends, and mentors were of the antiwar movement; his childhood was spent believing the concocted accusations that our honorable troops were the real villains in Vietnam. He has spent his adult life displaying a visceral hatred of our armed forces, and has spent his unfortunate duration in the White House undermining our troops at home and abroad, slashing their already meager pay, reducing their already flawed benefits, putting them at risk with outrageous rules of engagement abroad, even intentionally releasing known islamoterrorists back into the battlefield to endanger our soldiers again and again. That’s who he is.
The Rule of Law
The American people are supporters of a legal tradition that goes back to ancient Rome – from the Twelve Tables’ requirements that the law be clearly published, to the centuries of British development of Common Law, to the American federal, state, and local codes in effect today. We are proud of firm laws that enable great liberty while still forbidding violations of our neighbors’ rights, and we fiercely demand that these good laws be honored and enforced… protecting the rights of both American citizens and noncitizens who are legally here with our permission.
But Barack Obama does not respect the rule of law. He undermined the Constitution as an activist lawyer, taught college students that the Constitution is irrelevant at the University of Chicago, and violates his oath of office daily as he issues executive orders that trample on both the rights of Americans and the authority of the other branches. He behaves like a dictator, as much as he can, because that’s who he is.
In all these ways, and in infinitely more, the current Resident of the White House has proven that he simply has no right to say “That’s not who we are” when he issues his disrespectful, and increasingly outrageous, pronouncements on matters of ethics, economics, culture, and world affairs. He may speak for himself, and he may speak for his motley association of appointees, hangers-on and acolytes… but he does not speak for the American people.
Because we Americans know that, whatever Barack Obama and his acolytes may be, it’s not who we are.
Copyright 2015 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based international trade compliance manager, actor, writer, and recovering politician. A former precinct committeeman and area chairman in the townships of Evanston, Maine, Ela and Palatine, he served as Milwaukee County Republican Chairman in the mid-1990s. His columns are regularly found in Illinois Review.
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