Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review of the SOTU Address

In reviewing the speech given by President Obama last night I have a general observation of the content, an observation of a single event that occurred during the speech and an analysis of one thing the President said towards the end of his hour plus long speech.

Sarah Palin was asked if a single word could describe the tone of the speech. She took no time in describing the tone of the President's first state of the union speech with the single word, "scolded". She is exactly right. The President chastised the democrats for running scared. He scolded the republicans as obstructionists. He scolded the American people for not getting on board with his plans. He even scolded the Supreme Court for their recent decision concerning campaign contributions.

The only person he didn't scold was his own wife. Shoot, he even scolded himself for not explaining to us, the general public, the truth about the health care plan. As if somehow, like some ignorant little kid, we just weren't getting it and we needed daddy to spell it out for us like we're some silly little fourth grader.

This daddy-knows-best attitude of Obama was addressed not more than a few days earlier on one of the conservative shows (I want to say, Glenn Beck, but can't say that with absolute certainty). Whichever commentator it was who spoke of this brought up the idea that Obama was raised without a father. In one of Obama's books, he made it sound as if a large part of his persona is the result of not having that authoritative father figure around. Because of this, this commentator thought that this perhaps explains why so much of Obama's attitude seems to be of this authoritative father figure whom we desperately need to help us understand what's best for us.

This is exactly what the President seemed to be doing over and over and over again last night. He was projecting himself as America's wise and kind father teaching us all, even the SCOTUS, what's right and what's wrong.

This tone showed itself most significantly when the President chastised the Supreme Court for its recent decision regarding campaign financing. It was difficult not to sit with my jaw on the floor as I heard the president scold the justices for making a poor decision. What president has EVER openly and publicly...yea, internationally...scolded the Supreme Court for doing their job? The fact that he disagrees with the ruling is absolutely irrelevant. It is not his place to scold the members of a completely separate branch of government for doing their jobs. But the mere fact that this president feels compelled to do that very thing is a perfect example of his daddy-knows-best attitude towards EVERYONE.

This leads me to address the one thing that the President said that drew the greatest concern for me. At the very end of the speech he said this:

I campaigned on the promise of change — change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change — or that I can deliver it.

But remember this — I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is.

Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths and pointing fingers. We can do what's necessary to keep our poll numbers high and get through the next election instead of doing what's best for the next generation.

But I also know this: If people had made that decision 50 years ago or 100 years ago or 200 years ago, we wouldn't be here tonight. The only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard, to do what was needed even when success was uncertain, to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and their grandchildren.

Our administration has had some political setbacks this year and some of them were deserved. But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going — what keeps me fighting — is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism, that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people, that lives on.

It lives on in the struggling small business owner who wrote to me of his company, "None of us," he said, "... are willing to consider, even slightly, that we might fail."

It lives on in the woman who said that even though she and her neighbors have felt the pain of recession, "We are strong. We are resilient. We are American."

It lives on in the 8-year-old boy in Louisiana, who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti.

And it lives on in all the Americans who've dropped everything to go someplace they've never been and pull people they've never known from the rubble, prompting chants of "USA! USA! USA!" when another life was saved.

The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people. We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment — to start anew, to carry the dream forward and to strengthen our union once more.

This is where the root of difference lay between Progressives and Conservatives. Progressives believe that the government is the source of the fundamental expression of the American spirit. They believe it is their responsibility to make sure we are charitable and kind and gracious and generous to those suffering or less fortunate than others.

Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that the spirit of which Obama speaks lay in the hearts of the people...not the government. In the view of conservatives, the role of government is to make sure that we are secure enough to personally express this spirit as we see fit ourselves.

Progressives would like to convince us all that the obligation to do "right" compells us to allow our government to take from us what they deem necessary to properly express the charitable spirit of America towards those THEY consider to be the needy. The entire concept of redistribution of wealth is focused upon this concept.

But let it be made clear that America's Constitution was not designed to assign to the government the responsibility to be charitable on our behalf. All we conservatives want our government to do is to make sure that we have the personal and economic freedom to do as our conscience dictates. We do not need the government to be our conscience. We don't need the government making sure that everyone has an equal piece of the pie. We need them to make sure that we all have an equal opportunity to obtain a piece of the pie. We don't need the government to tax us more so that our neighbors in the Caribbean will have the money necessary to recover from a devastating earthquake. We need the government to obey the Constitution and tax us only so much as is necessary to perform the duties to which they were assigned by that Constitution, so when the time comes that those neighbors in the Caribbean are in need WE have the money to follow our own consciences in extending a hand of assistance.

This president, as well as the entire Progressive Movement, has completely and utterly misinterpreted the outrage in this country. His speech last night only solidified the opinion I have of him that he is a patronizing, out-of-touch, elitist president whom I cannot trust at his word. It was entirely disheartening to come to the place of understanding that no matter what he says, I cannot trust him. I cannot trust that he is not playing with words, twisting statistics, or talking out of both sides of his mouth.

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