Presidents often use State of the Union Addresses to articulate a more comprehensive ideology of government or society. In the 2012 SOTU, what did President Barack Obama hold up as his ideal? Military life.
Obama took the name of the armed forces in vain, twice, simultaneously claiming undeserved credit for killing Osama bin Laden and forecasting the way his opponents should fall in line, salute, sit down, shut up, and follow his commands. Soldiers, he said, trust each other. “They don’t obsess over their differences,” Obama enthused. “They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.”
“Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example,” he said.
Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.
Exactly who is the commander-in-chief in Obama’s model? Whose orders are unquestioningly executed without regard for personal reservations about their wisdom or likelihood for success? Obama noted in the Situation Room where he quivered in fear after finally ordering the troops to take out Osama, he “sat next to Bob Gates, a man who was George Bush’s defense secretary; and Hillary Clinton, a woman who ran against me for president.”
America’s decision makers in this fantasy are Barack Obama, a radical anti-American socialist; Hillary Clinton, a European welfare state socialist; and a Republican willing to go along with their plans.
Do we want to live the military life? The dehumanizing basic training, designed to break the individual and mold him into an element of a larger collective and hierarchical force? The rigid regimental conformity imposed from above upon all? The rationing and lack of individual choice over one’s own fate? The harsh punishment meted out to those who disobey?
Obama has stoked the idea of a civilian defense corps and turned shoppers into snitches with his “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. Collectivism made its greatest strides in the United States during the Great Depression and World War II. A military mindset reinforces Obama’s regal pretensions and siege mentality. Americans interested in maintaining constitutional liberties should want nothing to do with his plans or ideology.
As the late folk troubadour Phil Ochs once sang, “Before the end even treason might be worth a try. This country is too young to die.”