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Was George Washington ‘Paranoid’ Too?

A question for Michael Medved and other “moderates.”

by
Mary Grabar

Bio

February 22, 2011 - 12:00 am

Does our president hate us?

That, sadly, is an appropriate question to ask on this birthday of our first president, even though esteemed “moderate” conservative talk show host Michael Medved says it’s “paranoid” to even entertain the question.

George Washington’s famous “Farewell Address” — too little read these days — offers a stark contrast to Barack Obama’s view of the presidency. Washington offers words of caution that we would do well to heed. Referring to himself as a “dutiful citizen” and “old and affectionate friend,” Washington writes:

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast  confidence with which it has supported me: and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal.

Washington opens and closes with such expressions of humility. He attributes any successes he may have had as president to the “constancy of your support.”He calls for a unity rooted in an American allegiance and identity, respect for the Constitution, and a morality based on religious belief.

But Barack Obama, with his conquering calls to “fundamentally transform” America and repeated proclamations that “we won” — before his 2010 “shellacking,” of course — has proven himself to be the antithesis of the “dutiful citizen” Washington. Obama’s policies and associations show a distinct desire to “transform” the republic into a socialist state. His statements and actions demonstrate contempt for the American people and the American form of government.

First, Obama has demonstrated his contempt for free elections, beginning with his association with ACORN. His Justice Department ignores voter intimidation, dismissing the contentious New Black Panther case from the 2008 election. Most recently, Obama has used his political arm, Organizing for America, to organize anarchists from various states of the union to protest against lawmaking in Wisconsin’s capitol. He has inserted himself into a state issue by opposing the lawful actions of a freely elected Republican governor.

What would George Washington — who cautions against factions rooted in the “strongest passions of the human mind,” and warns of forces that agitate “the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms,” kindle “the animosity of one part against another,” and foment “riot and insurrection” — think of such behavior?

But this is not the first time that our “community organizer” president has used mobs to intimidate. Remember his warning about the “pitchforks” in his meeting with bankers? Remember his groups that mobbed a bank president’s private home? (Now they are going to the homes of Wisconsin lawmakers.) Remember the imperious claims of “we won” to the Republicans he was supposedly going to “negotiate” with — over the unpopular health care bill that never did get the public airing he promised, which was passed with unprecedented legislative maneuvering in the dead of night?

Barack Obama’s contempt for Americans became apparent as early as the campaign itself. Remember the haughty reference to a “plumber” after a citizen dared ask an honest question when the microphone was put before him? When commentators noted the distinctly Marxist flavor of Obama’s response of “spreading the wealth” to Joe the Plumber’s concerns about taxes, Obama decided to attack the commentators and vilify the one cable news station that dared to criticize him. Obama supporters then released the personal records of Joe the Plumber.

And who can forget Obama’s condescending statements about Pennsylvania primary voters who “cling” to their “guns and religion”?

Contrast such contempt with George Washington’s words: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.”

Meanwhile, Stanley Kurtz was doing research showing Obama’s connections to the terrorist Bill Ayers and laying bare the archives that would prove Obama’s socialist ties. Obama’s henchmen organized to overwhelm the phone lines at a Chicago radio program when Kurtz was a guest. But even though Kurtz’s 2010 book Radical-in-Chief is painstakingly footnoted, using information already reported upon by Cliff Kincaid and Trevor Loudon, and concludes “Obama is a socialist,” Medved insists that Obama is not a socialist. “Moderate” conservatives choose to ignore such information for fear of being smeared a “red-baiter.”

A reading of his speeches (especially the pre-“shellacking” ones) shows that the religion Obama most respects is Islam. And what of patriotism? Everything from declaring himself a “citizen of the world” while on the international stage to bowing before Saudi princes to refraining from saying the Pledge of Allegiance indicates where Obama’s allegiances lie.

Allegiance to the Constitution is a duty that is “sacredly obligatory upon all,” said Washington. But Obama’s Constitution-subverting actions are legion — from the unprecedented government takeover of a private car company to the health care bill now being challenged in the courts on Constitutional grounds.

Washington reminds future generations that “the very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.” The Constitution provides a hedge against the sort of “mere hypothesis and opinion” that leads to “perpetual change” and, ultimately, anarchy, chaos, and despotism. “Resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles,” Washington writes.

What was Obama’s campaign slogan?  That’s right: “change.” He aims to change the country in a fundamental way, casting Republicans’ objections to his Constitution-subverting actions as “obstructionist.”

Washington’s parting words were intended to advance unity based on American allegiance and faithfulness to the Constitution. Obama’s strategy has been to pit Americans against each other — to not only “not let a crisis go to waste,” in the words of Rahm Emanuel, but to manufacture crises where there are none. We all remember the use of Henry Louis Gates’ arrest to begin a conversation on “race” — to stir up racial resentments that lead to what Washington warns against: “the spirit of revenge.”

In fact, in opposition to his claims of “bipartisanship,” Obama has done everything he can to divide the nation.

He doesn’t sound like a unifier to me. Nor does he by Washington’s standards. For him, national unity provides the “political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed.”

Oh, could we have “internal enemies” who act “covertly”? Or would Michael Medved call that “paranoia”?

By Medved’s estimation such treason could never afflict the office of president, for John Adams prayed that “May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof,” and Franklin Roosevelt ordered “the inscription of these words on a mantel piece in the State Dining Room.” Therefore, the record of the White House “of more than 200 years shows plenty of bad decisions but no bad men. For all their foibles, every president attempted to rise to the challenges of leadership and never displayed disloyal or treasonous intent.” Ergo, it would be impossible for Barack Obama to be disloyal or treasonous. In fact, we must attribute to him that universal desire of all U.S. presidents — “to secure a positive verdict on their own place in history.”

Well, it depends on which country’s history. Obama has already demonstrated that he values the opinion of world tyrants over America and her allies. We also have plenty of evidence from twentieth-century history to show that megalomaniac leaders don’t always act in such rational ways.

Michael Medved, in his opinion piece in the venerable Wall Street Journal, continues his radio program’s “conspiracy” hours,” by attacking “the president’s most paranoid critics.”

But let me propose a “conspiracy theory” of my own. The community organizer’s strategy is to use the tools of democracy to bring it down. That’s why comments emanating from the White House are often unbelievably insulting and divisive. They are intended to provoke outrage — and to deliberately give up the game just enough so that some will see the naked emperor and some who like to present themselves as “reasonable moderates” will dismiss such concerns as evidence of paranoia. They will distance themselves from these people who are not the professoriate, think tank fellows, or svelte television announcers.

Thus, the “moderates” will be pitted against the “conservatives” — many of them the average plumbers, accountants, and housewives that go to tea parties.  Others, like Rush Limbaugh, are the ready targets for singling out by name and being denied access to forums that “moderates” have access to. Far from promoting the kind of unity that George Washington encouraged, our community-organizer-in-chief has not only used his office to rile up the resentful masses, but to split the opposition.

A “conspiracy theory”? Maybe. But I would think that George Washington would say that it is not unreasonable, given the evidence, to suspect that our own president is conspiring against his own country.

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at www.dissidentprof.com. Her writing can be found at www.marygrabar.com. Subscribe to dispatches here.
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