As we plod through the last year of the current presidential term, a term that dedicated Obama supporters hope will be followed by another four years of Obama tenure, the object of their hopes remains unique in the annals of American chief executives. Although poll after poll rates his job-performance as unacceptable, his personal rating continues to be strong. His image as a “wonderful man” is tenaciously held by many.
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So, just what is it that accounts for the ambiguity between performance and persona? Who is this man?
Barak Obama was elected president of the United States in 2008. He was elected not because of proven statesmanship, nor for legislative contribution, nor for business know-how, nor for outstanding moral behavior, nor for demonstrated love of country. He was elected because of his rhetorical skills, his charming and ingratiating manner, and his ability to project a shimmering image that promised all things to all people. His promise of “change” and his easy, yet persuasive, delivery convinced individual citizens that he spoke directly to each of them – and to the kind of change each wanted. It mattered little to them that he spoke in broad generalities, criticizing how “bad” things were and how “good” he would make them. Slogans like “Yes, we can!”, “Change we can believe in!”, and “Help me take back America!” resonated with an electorate mesmerized by the trappings of leadership, whose hopes for the man far exceeded the potential that prompted them. His meager credentials consisted of eight years in the Illinois state legislature actively soliciting for the local liberal interests in his Chicago district, and one incomplete and unimpressive term as a US senator.
Now, after three and a half years of his administration, it has become clear that Mr. Obama is an ardent ideologue with a very specific agenda. He has, in a sense, made good on his promise of change. But the changes he has approved, some of which he has pressed into legislation (and some of which he has mandated through executive privilege) do not simply reform and optimize the function of government within the framework of traditional American values, but rather uproot the values themselves. He substitutes for them a government-sponsored morality, one that has no dependence on the Creator, religion, or the concept of absolute truth. Most of his ideas are predicated on a militant secular program that marginalizes religious participation in the public arena and penalizes those whose understanding of morality differ from the version that he and the government he represents endorse.
Perhaps to his credit, his campaign against organized religion and traditional morality is not disguised; rather, it is openly aggressive and unapologetically advanced. His administration no longer refers to religion as such; it is now known as “worship,” a term that ignores the scope and the institutional make-up of religion. He identifies himself as a Christian but attends no church with regularity. He has disassociated himself from both the church he attended for 20 years, the United Church of Christ, and a long-time pastor of that church, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright (who has been accused, not without evidence, of anti-US sentiments). His personal code of morals permits and effectively encourages abortion, embryonic stem cell research, human egg donation for research, and euthanasia. His administration has carefully crafted words that appear to convey his opposition to human cloning, but when more closely scrutinized, they simply discourage efforts to clone a human being – thereby leaving the door wide open for the cloning process to provide “therapeutic” stem cells for medical research. All these positions are radically opposed by pro-life elements in society because they require the killing of human beings at the earliest stages of their physical development.
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