Posted on FB on January 15, 2016, in response to a question regarding the conservative response to Obama’s final State of The Union address.
You ask four questions in your post, and I believe there is one answer to them all:
Ideology – that abstract and often intractable meaning applied to matters in the public square.
The country is engaged in a sort of protracted psychic civil war. There are now two schools of thought regarding every issue – a classic Us vs. Them scenario rules the landscape. Pick a side, and fight for it to the death, seems to be the modus operandi of the general public.
Even within the chosen sides, further breakdowns emerge, with Sanders voters claiming to be unable to support a Clinton candidacy, Trump supporters refusing to support anyone else… It’s ugly out there!
How we arrived at this point is a long story, dating back to our nation’s founding. Not everyone agreed on the contents of the Declaration of Independence, or on the contents of the Constitution, or on the Bill of Rights. Hell, there were duels to the death over the differences back then! The Federalist Papers are a must read for all eligible voters. Unfortunately, no one is required to read them, and darn few voters have read them.
But the fact is, those founding documents are the documents that cemented the precepts of our approach to nationhood, and codified the ideals of a young America.
Primary among these precepts was the concept that government was to remain small and unobtrusive in the personal lives of the citizens, each of whom had been granted the right to liberty by his Creator. The government was given charge to deal with only a small number of specific responsibilities. The form of government envisioned by our Founders would be unrecognizable to any average American today, practically invisible if it actually existed.
The current reality, which has been built upon at least 100 years of willful neglect of the precepts contained in the founding documents, is one of massively eroded liberties caused by the corrosive impact of a government that has been allowed to, in fact encouraged to settle upon every single aspect of American lives, like a toxic dew on a morning meadow.
To your questions:
1) Why so much contempt for our president? In my opinion, while he is not the first to represent a manifestation of the diminished liberties for Americans, Obama, more than any other in the modern era, embodies a big government approach to dealing with life and life’s challenges. From assuming control of student loans to health care and everything in between, he has managed an onerous use of the IRS, EPA, BPL, DEA, ATF, FDA, TSA, DHS and myriad other burgeoning government agencies. The Obama Administration has overseen and approved the addition of some 75,000 – 80,000 pages of new rules and regulations IN EACH YEAR of his presidency. Again, while he is not the first to oversee this sort of cancerous growth, he has certainly set an uncomfortable pace that Liberty surely cannot withstand. (One might ask if you came to the defense and support of “W” Bush during his presidency? After all, he had books and plays written on the theme of how to assassinate him while he was in office.)
2) Why all the negativity? As I observed earlier, the psychic civil war has created a posturing among those who engage in the public square that seems to require the taking of sides, right down to dietary intake. That people cannot engage without name-calling, slander, vitriol and threats, and the evil twin of finding offense and creating micro-aggressions at every turn, is more emblematic of a degrading of our manner of discourse, a loss of civility and manners.
No two individuals held such opposing viewpoints as George Bernard Shaw and G.K. Chesterton, and yet these two men traveled the world together, staging public debates, and remained good friends throughout. We would all do well to go back and read some of those debates. Our education system, and the disintegration of the family and culture in general, have fueled the loss of civility and turned displays of animus into just another fashion accessory.
3) Would it have mattered what he said anyway, or were their minds already made up that it was just a bunch of BS because it was coming from him? Many people did some degree of research on Obama prior to his first election, and were not comfortable with what they learned. Schooled in Islamic schools as a child, hanging out at the knee of an avowed communist, pornographer and target of FBI investigations as a young man, teaching not actually constitutional law but Alinsky Theory as a visiting lecturer at university, strong-arming banks into giving out risky loans as a young attorney, college records hidden from public view… the list of grievances some had in advance of Obama even assuming office is sufficient in some minds to consider everything he has done as president in this hazy light. Playing of the race card against many of these detractors, unfortunately, ignores the very real, ideological differences at play here.
Most Americans would admit to being proud of our nation finally electing a Black American as president, preferring, however, that it not be this one in particular.
Numerous statements made by President Obama have led many to doubt his sincerity or trust on subsequent statements, such as those we heard in the SOTU on Tuesday. i.e., “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”; “The cops acted stupidly”; “Typical White woman…”; “…clinging to their guns and their Bibles…”; and on and on…. I’m sure someone has a comprehensive on-line list for those interested in torturing themselves further.
My biggest complaint is that the former member of the Choom Gang refused to remove cannabis from the list of federally controlled substances… the very high height of hypocrisy! 😉
4) His point was that we should all be working together in a positive way, as citizens, to come up with solutions. How could this message be wrong and how do you find fault in this kind of philosophy? Again, for someone who has built a career upon dividing to call for unity is, at best, a disingenuous attempt to cement his legacy based on what he says, rather than on his actual actions.
Unconditional love, while a very appropriate and necessary ingredient to rearing a family, is entirely unsuited to sustaining a Republic, in my humble opinion. I remain optimistic that America will weather this turmoil, as we have many others. But, with our existence as a Republic under assault from within as well as beyond our borders, my long-term outlook is more circumspect than ever before.