Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Senator Obama and Patriotism: If You’re Explaining, You’re Losing

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/07/01/senator-obama-and-patriotism-if-you%e2%80%99re-explaining-you%e2%80%99re-losing/

By Ani

By all accounts, I suppose the mainstream media will now take it upon themselves to wax rhapsodic over Senator Obama’s latest speech today in Independence, Missouri – this one on patriotism, just in time for the 4th of July festivities.

There are many noble sentiments expressed in that speech so I won’t take issue with it on its face. Then again, with 20 speechwriters, including some who worked for Kennedy, invoking the great specters of Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington and Roosevelt and our noble goals for America, how can you go wrong?

The problem, therefore, is not with the speech, but with the man delivering it.

I hate to give the cretin Chris Matthews any oxygen whatsoever, but I must say, even a broken clock is right twice a day. At one point during the primary, he said in reference to the Obama campaign : “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.”

And here again, Obama is explaining. For me, more at issue than his patriotism are his qualifications. But if he feels he needs to take the time to make sure people know how patriotic he is, well, he doth protest too much, methinks:

“So let me say this at the outset of my remarks, I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand by when I hear others question mine.”

To wit, his speech, in which he spoke about the struggles of America and how, though we fall short of the ideals of our founding fathers, we are still the best country on earth and will always reach for those goals.

So what noble goal is Senator Obama pursuing then, that allows him and his surrogates to call none other than William Jefferson Clinton a racist and smear his legacy, bamboozling those too young to remember how much good Bill and Hillary did for the African American community, and certainly America as a whole, as Obama urges voters to forget about eight years of peace and prosperity, a balanced budget, a surplus in the hundreds of billions and lower unemployment.

He allows his surrogates to unjustly tear down those encroaching upon him and then stands nobly above the fray so he can deliver pretty speeches like this, unhampered and seemingly innocent.

He cautions that our government is piling up mountains of debt, putting off changes to our energy policies and “placing short term interests ahead of the nation’s long-term well being.” How is it then that he voted in favor of Bush/Cheney’s energy bill while both Senators Clinton and McCain voted against it? Why does Obama trash the policies of good Democrats only to tout Reaganomics – the era of junk bonds, double digit interest rates and an end to the Fairness Doctrine.

He eloquently discussed Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘a patriot who led the movement to help America confront her tragic history of racial injustice, and the young soldier who first spoke about the prisoner abuse at Abu Graib.’ Patriotic, too.

He then spoke in glowing terms about John McCain’s patriotism and service to his country, right after General Wesley Clark – surely at the Obama campaign’s behest – was dispatched to Face The Nation on Sunday to say that McCain’s service and sacrifice, while great and honorable, did not necessarily qualify him to be President. When the sound bite did not play well, it was at that point, Obama threw General Clark, also a patriot, under the bus.

Ironically, he also mentions the tragedy now occurring in Zimbabwe, where a corrupt leader and his young followers, are threatening those who do not vote for him with death. Certainly, I am by no means equating their situation with ours.

Surely, we don’t have to fear danger in this country if we vote our conscience, but the threats, harassment and rudeness some of Senator Clinton’s supporters have received at the hand of Senator Obama’s more reckless followers and ‘blogger boyz’ doesn’t seem in keeping with the spirit of independence, liberty and unity Senator Obama is discussing.

Why has he never used his powerful and soaring rhetoric to stand up and tell those guilty of this abusive behavior that this would absolutely not be tolerated in this new post-partisan world he is forging? Rather he has advantaged himself by their crude behavior, and he was also all too happy to have a complicit media chime in and help trash Senator Clinton and her voters to the bargain.

He mentions Harry Truman, yet does not seem dedicated enough to carry out Truman’s wishes in aiming to providing health care for every American, as Senator Obama’s plan would clearly leave about 16 million out.

He speaks of his mother reading the Declaration of Independence to him as a child: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.” Admirable for a mother to share that with her young son. Well, we are all created equal.

Since he’s brought it up, why then, if he is such a champion of equality and a champion of women, are the women on Senator Obama’s campaign staff earning significantly less than the men? Actually, John McCain employs more women on his staff than men, and the women are paid higher salaries than their male counterparts. So who is the progressive here? Who speaks to equality for all?

As Senator Obama asks how we restore our faith in government that seems increasingly removed from its people and dominated by special interests, he would be well served to ask himself why he campaigned on a platform he seems determined now to repudiate and run from. His capitulation on FISA and reneging on his promise to use public campaign financing spring immediately to mind.

While he is waxing poetic about patriotism, he would also do well to look in the mirror and ask himself why, if he, as Teddy Kennedy put it, embodies the nobler aspirations of the American people – is Senator Obama so divisive, instead of a uniting force?

Why have he and his surrogates spent months denigrating those who did not vote for him? Bitter, clueless, uneducated, racist, Archie Bunkers, over the hill, Hillary hags and the like. How is this behavior befitting of the patriot and great leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., whose name he constantly evokes as if he is so ready to follow in his footsteps?

Senator Obama is the presumptive nominee. Supposedly the standard bearer of our party. Why, then, would he allow the DNC to use the talking point that those who will not vote for him are afraid of him because of his race? Why always excuses and blame?

Perhaps some do not feel he is qualified for the office with his paper thin resume and a voting record that thus far, have not exhibited moral courage or a firm stand on the issues.

A leader capable of the unifying qualities Obama discusses so beautifully in his speech and purports to possess must understand how to reach out to others, to give of him or herself and make this election about the voters, to humble himself if necessary by reaching out to people with whom he has not yet been able to find a connection. True leadership does not disparage. It is not arrogant or aloof. It seeks solutions, not excuses.

I cannot help but feel that his speeches, filled with rich imagery, are meant to distract from the issue at hand, rather than to focus on it. The issue was, is, and will remain Senator Obama and whether he is ready and fit to lead this country in conquering the struggles that we face.

We don’t need smoke and mirrors or a distraction. We don’t need any more lofty generalities in this country. We have had enough of words that accomplish little.

I don’t have a problem with his words. I have misgivings about actions that do not match the rhetoric. As we approach Independence Day, it is important for all of us to remember the rights all our ancestors fought for, regardless of our backgrounds or respective heritage.

The freedoms we enjoy today will only be maintained in full if we continue to be vigilant and voice our concerns, protest when we must and hold our leaders’ feet to the fire. That includes holding Senator Obama’s feet to the fire when he does an about face on the very things he pretends to stand for, purporting to be so liberal while cozying up to big business and ignoring the working people of this country and now, too, those on the left who elevated and supported his campaign in the first place.

Patriotism is about many things. It is about courage. It is about unshakeable principles. I have heard it said that you will never know what your principles truly are until they become inconvenient to you.

Unfortunately, Senator Obama has thus far shown that what becomes inconvenient also becomes immediately disposable. How patriotic is that?

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