Let America Be America Again

Has the oaf from Porlock shoved off to Savile Row?

Peter Carey, My Life as a Fake

So much has now been written about Barack Obama, and from so many different points of view, that one must scour the muniments of the improbable, the miraculous, or the impossible to find something startlingly new to say. Who knows? Perhaps it will one day be confirmed that Obama is really the second coming of the long-awaited messiah who brings a new world order with him, or a galactic visitor from a remote planet in another solar system, blessed with a wisdom beyond the capacity of ordinary human beings. Or perhaps he is Beelzebub's latest avatar, as prophesied, let's say, in a recently discovered scroll in a cave near Tel Miqne in the Holy Land.

But the truth is something far humbler and yet no less unnerving. It's not easy to draw a bead on a cynical shape-shifter like Obama, but the effort must be made. Whatever his mysterious origins may be -- numinous, demonic, interstellar, Hawaiian, Kenyan -- the fact remains that he is bad news for the future health and prosperity of the United States, which seems to be subsiding into the economic and political abyss.

I will attempt here only a modest summation of certain elements of disquietude that Obama's presidency has provoked. Nothing new, just a synoptic refresher, a compendium of reported items, which may help us to put things in perspective and justify the edginess that many of us feel. For it's high time we take Lear's command to heart and see the man for who he is, and in the round: "Off, off, you lendings! Come unbutton here." And there are lots of buttons to be popped:

  • the disclosure of Obama's problematic affiliations with unrepentant former terrorist Bill Ayers, American-and-Jew bashing pastor Jeremiah Wright, and corrupt real estate developer Tony Rezko, as well as his imbibing of community organizer and social agitator Saul Alinsky's revolutionary manual, Rules for Radicals;

  • the massive bailout scheme, inflationary deficit spending, and gargantuan expansion of the national debt, rising to a whopping proportion of GDP -- actually, to half and possibly more of the entire U.S. budget -- as well as the cap-and-trade program, which augurs monetary disaster in the coming years, notwithstanding any short-term stimulus jolt. In the long term, this fiscal package amounts to borrowing from America's unborn children;

  • the cramdown policy of "trading off" the assets of troubled firms such as Chrysler, in effect making his campaign-funding United Auto Workers union a majority shareholder and leaving first-lien bondholders largely unsecured;

  • the stated intention to "spread the wealth around" which elevates the principle of equality over the principle of freedom, a maneuver that historically has led to a level of drab and phlegmatic sameness among the masses governed by a small, privileged managerial elite. Aristotle had it pegged long ago when he wrote in Book V, Chapter 8 of The Politics, "In democracies the rich ought to be treated with consideration; there should be no levy on capital with redistribution of property, nor any redistribution of income, such as goes unnoticed in some cities." When it comes, however, to preserving their own substantial wealth, Aristotle's advice has certainly been accepted by the plutocratic cohort of America's leading "socialists," including the president, which tends to go unnoticed in some cities -- though this is not exactly what the great philosopher had in mind;

  • the apology to the world at large for American unilateralism rather than the assertion of legitimate pride in the historic ventures of a great nation -- the savior of Europe, the largest contributor to the United Nations, the protector of commercial sea lanes, the international benefactor of last resort, and, up to now, the world's mainstay against totalitarianism;

  • the apology to the Islamic world for America's past sins -- the same America that rescued Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's aggression, intervened militarily on behalf of Bosnia-Herzegovina, did more than any other country to help establish Kosovo as an Islamic state, sends $2 billion annually in foreign aid to Egypt and hundreds of millions to Jordan, and contributes massively to Palestinian coffers and militia training;

  • the proposed reduction in American military spending, impacting the navy and the air force in particular, at precisely the time that China is vying to become the world's major naval power and Russia is buzzing our coasts and landing state-of-the-art bombers in Venezuela;