Thursday, February 26, 2015

Does Obama Love America?

Rudy Guiliani walked into a firestorm last week by stating his belief that Barack Obama does not love America.  The media and the left (but, I repeat myself) went four-alarm apoplectic.  Is Rudy wrong?  Is the left right?  Does Obama Love America?

That depends on what you mean by "America".   Is America the physical area within it's borders?  Is it the Grand Canyon, the Appalachian Mountains, California to the Gulf Stream Waters?   I have no reason to suspect Obama does not love this aspect of America.  He  certainly seems to love America's golf courses!  Or is America its people - the motley melange of the melting pot.   Obama sure seems to love those that support him.  Not so much those that don't.  I don't think Obama cares much for conservatives, tea party members,  Libertarians, Republicans, gun owners, "bitter clingers", Fox News employees, Fox News viewers, conservative 501 Cs, video-makers who mock Mohammad, Zionists, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Utah...well, you get the idea.   Though this amounts to about half the country, I still don't think this defines Obama's love, or lack thereof,  for his country.

In short, every country on the planet has interesting people and majestic physical features.  Having those things does not make America any more lovable than, say, Canada or Ethiopia.  I have no doubt Obama loves America the same way he loves Scotland with its great golf courses and iconic caddies.  But none of that really defines America and separates it from the rest of the world.   

There is only one thing that really makes America America and separates it from every other nation on the planet - the ideas on which we were founded.  Those ideas eventually led to the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, The Constitution of The United States, and the twenty seven amendments thus far.  All those ideas have been distilled into the living document that is the Constitution of the United States as amended.  Under our constitution, the federal government has very explicit limits on it's power and everything outside those powers belongs to the states and the people.  This had never been tried in world history.  The US Constitution is what makes America unique among nations and it alone is what constitutes "American exceptionalism".  

We’ve heard a lot about “American exceptionalism” lately, but most of it misses the point.  Barack Obama was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism early in his presidency.  “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism”, he replied.    Subsequently he amended that view on numerous occasions, only to reveal that he continues to misunderstand the meaning of the term. 

Last fall, the president stood in front of a group of healthcare workers who had recently returned from Ebola stricken Africa.  “That’s American exceptionalism!”, the constitutional scholar informed us, which was ironic because many of the care givers present were members of a French organization known as Medecines Sans Frontieres, known here as Doctors Without Borders.  Oops, maybe he meant French exceptionalism. 

No doubt, any person who goes to Africa to treat Ebola patients is an exceptional human being, but that has nothing to do with American exceptionalism.  American exceptionalism refers to our founding principles; never before in human history had a nation been formed with the central principle being the supremacy of the individual and deliberate limits on the powers of the state.  It made us an EXCEPTION among nations.  American exceptionalism does not mean that we are superior to other nations.  It simply means we are unique, different, an EXCEPTION to the rule. 

Those unique ideas are what made us great.  Everything we've achieved as a nation stemmed from our founding ideas:  outlawing slavery, creating the world's most successful economic engine, raising standards of living like never before, spreading democracy and tolerance,  helping defeat fascism and terrorism around the globe, and being a magnet for the world's tired, hungry, and poor.

Here are the six big ideas expressed in the Constitution of The United States: 

  1. limited government
  2. republicanism
  3. checks and balances
  4. federalism
  5. separation of powers
  6. popular sovereignty
After six years of Obama's presidency, he has demonstrated through his words and deeds that he has nothing but disdain for these six ideas.

No president has been more outspoken about his disdain for limited government than Barack Obama.  He has openly denigrated the concept calling the constitution a “charter of negative liberties”.  Ummmm, yes it is from the perspective of an all-powerful state.  But from the perspective of the individual it was designed to protect, it is a godsend.  Obama has explicitly stated that he'd prefer a constitution that says "what the government must do on your behalf" rather than one that says "what the government cannot do to you".  Obama went so far as to use the word "tragedy" in describing how limited government restricted the federal governments ability to redistribute wealth.   

Here's Obama in his own words:

Obama has been equally hostile to the other five big ideas in the constitution.  Here is a piece from Forbes in 2012 that nicely covers most of this.

Is there anyone who has ever heard Barack Obama speak in favor of "Republicanism"?  I doubt it.   The party by that name certainly gets no love.  Checks and balances may have gotten lip service, but his deeds indicate nothing but disdain.  Federalism ditto.  Separation of powers?  Don't make me laugh.  Popular sovereignty?  Obama's intransigence in the wake of the recent landslide mid-term election proves his disdain for popular sovereignty. 

To love America is to love the unique exceptional ideas on which it was founded and which became embodied in the US Constitution as amended.  Barack Obama has nothing but disdain for those ideas and the document they became.  So you tell me, does Obama love America?  Does Hillary?  How about any Progressive who wants to progress away from the six big ideas in The US Constitution?  

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