May 5, 2009

The Small Matter of Hope

Thank goodness last week is over with.

Kathleen Sebelius eked her way through to Director of Health and Human Services, the swine flu has attacked over 1,000 people in the United States and the Carrie Prejean story just keeps going and going...

I'm tired of, I'm afraid of some of it. But more so, I'm uninspired by it all. And I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.

What was the Obama slogan? Ah, yes: "hope and change." We were led to believe he would bring "change we can believe in." There has been plenty of change, to be sure; pro-life, free speech and marriage rights have been undermined in an unprecedented way and, now that Congress and the White House are solely controlled by liberal Democrats, we're sure to see plenty more "change" implemented before Obama's term* is up. It would be foolish to assert that these things haven't happened, but, as policies go, I certainly do not believe in them. The question of whether "change has come" does not interest me much presently.

There is, however, the small matter of "hope" to be addressed.

Now, I know how we right-wing extremists view the current administration: oppressive, out of touch with American principles, divisive, overrun, autocratic. It's the same- albeit, for them, misinformed- view that liberals had of the G.W. Bush presidency. They thought he was a dictator, bent on invading innocent foreign countries for personal political reasons, and devoid of concern for U.S. citizen opinion. This view would rewrite policy and agenda to exclude the matters of protecting us post-911 and attempting to dismantle a real dictatorship in Iraq/Afghanistan and replace it with an Iraqi -supported democratic system, real change that had the best interest of free people in mind.

In short, we do not put our hope in this administration. But we were not the ones the slogans were aimed at. The racially-charged Obama campaign targeted undereducated youth, poor or disabled people reliant on government funding, white people who feel guilty about a) not being a minority or b) earning a high income, black people who vote for perceived similarity to a candidate and not on principle, and other such groups like-minded in shortsighted policy making and superficial solutions to very deep, complicated problems. (Sorry, this is my honest opinion.)

How are these people finding the new policies? Are they hopeful for what they will bring?

We were told by way of testimonial (the least logical form of justification there is!) that having "a black man" in the most powerful office of the world would cause other "black people" to aspire to great heights- to finish high school, to go to college, to become a part of the business class, etc. I find this simplification very insulting, and also inaccurate. Once again the idea is that the mere presence of a man who "looks like me" in the Oval Office will be enough to spur on a generation plagued by apathy, yet simultaneously rendered impotent by abundance and the lack of preparedness to make good choices.

Nic's introductory philosophy students reveal this truth time after time; they do not read the book, they do not come to class yet, if asked to do so, they are confident to provide an answer to any philosophical quandary. And the answers they give are so perfunctory that they become incoherently inconsistent when placed back-to-back. How are Obama's policies, which appear to disregard their prospective consequences, encourage hope for core beliefs, values that will stand the test of time and outlast present circumstances?

And what of the other groups targeted for Obama support- will they be hopeful about the blatant attribution of money to groups that tow the party line, while quietly subverting any opposition to the practice? Can they be hopeful about living in a nation where the government controls where they can live, how much they can earn and own, how many children they can have (that one is far away), who can teach their children and what kind of jobs are available when they graduate?

For now, they say everything is ok because, as far as they know (and they don't pay much attention anymore), they agree with Obama's socialist agenda. What happens when their nerve is finally touched- perhaps when it affects grandchildren, or an elderly, ill spouse- and they, too, want to object? Will there be hope that they can do so? Why does this poem by Martin Niemoller come to mind so often lately:

"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned."

Countless others have rewritten this poem to suit their own incongruent interpretations of it. Most people seem to miss the point entirely and commit embarrassing equivocation by interchanging any group that might be "oppressed" for the groups mentioned. I read one that began, "First they came for the terrorists..." as though terrorists could, in some sense, cease to be terrorists and be seen instead as innocent bystanders at the mercy of a fascist leader imprisoning them for no reason. But then we wouldn't call them 'terrorists,' would we?

The idea in the poem is that the groups listed actually were Jews, Catholics, industrialists and Protestants, but that their capture was unjust because they had committed no crime. They were simply, either by birth or choice, members of groups unfairly targeted. The gross misinterpretations make terrorists and illegal aliens into innocents-come-detainees.

Will there be hope for the survivors of the Fairness Doctrine, the new hate crimes laws, greater taxes on smaller businesses, the loss of free enterprise, school choice eradication, forced social concern?

Tell me, will Obama's supporters be hopeful about their nation when, operating in accordance to socialist orders, someone comes for them?


Bonjour Madame said...

Very well said.

socrates1 said...

Echo on Bonjour Madame - very well said.

Victoria said...

I wonder why conservatives get treated as though we were ignorant/indifferent toward others? It's so backwards...

And, thank you both!

Tom and Cindy said...

Love the blog. I plan on adding it to my blog reading list.
Thanks for sharing


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