Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Changing of the Guard

Today an historical event truly took place in the inauguration of President Barack Obama. As we have the changing of our Commander-in-Chief, I would like to take a brief moment to reflect on the Presidency of George W. Bush and to look forward to the future of America with our current President, Barack Obama.

Reflections on George W. Bush:

While I recognize that there are many Americans who are not happy with George W. Bush, I honestly believe that he has done more good than what most Americans give him credit for. Sometimes the stupidity of the American populace astounds me, but I shall save my thoughts on that bleak phenomenon for my next post. As for President George W. Bush, I would like to list what I thought that he had done well and where he had some weaknesses.

The Positives of President George W. Bush:
1. His handling of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. In response to this tragedy, the President acted in the only way that we as the people of America would have him act. His condemnation of terrorism and his pursuits to combat this modern form of tyranny has been superb. Regardless of whether you like Bush or not, we have not seen another attack on American soil or American institutions throughout the world. That is certainly saying something.
2. Going to war with Iraq. I know that this is extremely unpopular these days, but the fact of the matter is that our invasion of Iraq was in good faith and was not unilateral as many opponents of President Bush made it appear (it was obviously a political stunt by Democrats to seize power and it has worked). At the time of the invasion of Iraq over 85% of the American public was in support of the war. Saddam Hussein was not complying with some 16 UN resolutions, thumbing his nose at the world body. Had we not followed through with our words, the credibility of the UN would have been tattered. This is a fact (what is the point in presenting resolutions if there are not consequences to breaking them?). This is the real reason we invaded Iraq and everyone is so caught up on the concept of Weapons of Mass Destruction that we forget this fact. Furthermore, we have removed one of the most brutal dictators in the world's history. We certainly could not risk such a man obtaining Weapons of Mass Destruction and so long as he would not allow inspectors to inspect how could we really know? Some ask, "Why did we invade Iraq over WMD and not North Korea or Iran who we know are developing WMD?" Well, the key difference, North Korea and Iran have never invaded a foreign country. Iraq on the other hand has shown past aggression.
3. Going to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. This has certainly crippled the training and carrying out of terrorism in the West by causing the struggle to take place on the terrorists' home soil rather than in foreign countries. It has also offered the hope of democracy in this war-torn country.
4. Being Commander-in-Chief. The primary duty of the President is to lead the military. He has supported our troops who have done a hell of a job in defense of our great nation.
5. Foreign aid has been increased under President Bush's administration. There has never been as much support to help the struggling nations and people of Africa as has come from the Bush administration, but too many people look past this humanitarian response because of a blind hatred of the former President.

The Negatives of George W. Bush:
1. President Bush allowed congress to spend, spend, spend, wherein even the republicans were acting like democrats. The result: serious debt.
2. Failure to control the border with illegal immigration and the idea of granted amnesty to people who have knowingly and willingly broken our laws. What was going through his mind to allow people citizenship who have come illegally while snubbing the thousands who have been attempting to become citizens through the proper channels.
3. Failure to effectively communicate with the American people. Allowing the media and political enemies to define him was detrimental to his Presidency. By allowing such political enemies to define him as incompetent, ruthless, and heartless, the American people turned on him and essentially nullified what positive things he had done.

As for President Barack Obama, whether you like him or not, he is our President and as such he deserves our support for all just causes and our prayers for his successful governance with the interests of the people of America at heart. I should like to take a look at what I like about Obama and point out a few concerns.

The Positives of Barack Obama:
1. Obama is a great orator. We have seen time and time again that Obama has the gift of rhetoric and can communicate effectively. This ability will serve Obama well as he addresses the American people and as he interacts with foreign dignitaries and media, allowing him to give a positive spin to all events and policies. This will help both his own image and the image of America.
2. I have been impressed with Obama's move toward the political center since he has won the election. This is both wise for Obama and for the future of America. What we do not need is political ideologues from either of the political extremes influencing policy for the American people.
3. Obama has a message of hope that resounds with many people. Sometimes the illusion of hope can do more for a people than the policies that will actually help them. It is a powerful use of the psyche for a people to believe in a great hope even when the reality is limited, more so than to have little or no hope when the reality is that it is abundant. Hopefully there will be both a belief in hope along with an abundance of its reality--for such, we should all be hoping and praying.
4. Keeping on his staff many from the Department of Defense during the transition period is extremely wise. Kudos to Obama for putting the welfare and safety of America over partisan politics.

The Negatives of Barack Obama:
1. His support of Abortion (particularly late-term and partial birth abortion). With all the talk of hope and the value of life and the pursuit of happiness, I am dumbfounded that Obama and so many Americans justify the killing of life in the name of a woman's choice. I have no problem with abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or if a medical condition requires it, but to destroy life simply because someone made a mistake. . . it just seems like we are placing the blame and the consequence on the wrong people. . . in this case the innocent babies. What about the child's choice to life? We certainly live in a sick society when we value the "rights" of individuals who have the means to make choices over the "rights" of a child who has no ability to defend oneself or choice to combat the evil. As a nation we should always value what is in the best interest of children over what is in the best interest for an adult when the two conflict. One is innocent and defenseless, the other has made a choice and ought to be human enough to deal with the consequences rather than trying to bypass responsibility at the cost of human life.
2. The concept of redistribution of wealth. Raising taxes does not help an ailing economy, and taking people's hard-earned money to support a lazy and indolent people is simply wrong. I'm not saying that we should not be compassionate to others, nor that we should not have any social programs, but such programs should be designed at assisting individuals to be self-reliant, not reliant upon the state. Simply shifting money from upper class to lower class society does nothing to improve the morale of the lower class nor make their situation better. It borders on the ridiculous when people who follow the supposed "rules" of being a good citizen get hosed by the process. For example, how is it fair when a young woman chooses to be responsible, abstain from sexual relationships outside of wedlock, and work hard to pay for and obtain a good education to receive nothing from the government while a young woman who gets pregnant receives government money to pay for childcare and the young woman's education? Are we not rewarding those who are doing things that are detrimental to society while leaving those who are working to contribute to it high and dry. We actually punish such individuals by taxing them to pay for those who choose a lifestyle that is detrimental both to themselves and to society. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be compassionate, nor that we shouldn't help, but the primary responsibility should be with the individual, followed by the family, followed by the local community, and government should be the absolute last resort. Why should I pay for someone else's poor choices? Furthermore, I have plenty of students in my classes that have the ability to do well in school, but choose not to apply themselves. Should we really be taxing those who have devoted their time and means to improve themselves and society and redistribute that wealth to those who chose not to apply themselves and stand around expecting the government to provide? This is ludicrous!
3. Obama's subvert belief that government can do better than the private sector. As much as we may hope and wish and dream, government is not the solution to our problems. Unfortunately, government is often more a hinderance than a solution. Government can do much good, but it is the people that must act for themselves, not the government acting for the people. Look at any government run institution and we witness monuments of inefficiency. Why would we want to entrust the government with more responsibility and control in our lives? Government healthcare? No thanks. I have a hard enough time in the lines at the DMV.

And here is my audacity of hope: That Barack Obama will prove my concerns wrong. I sincerely hope that he will. I wish him the best in his service of the American people and will pray that he will govern in wisdom and righteousness. While I did not vote for him, he is my President and I will support him as such (not necessarily his policies, but I will certainly support him).


Liz W. said...

I would LOVE to comment on your thoughts, but I still have a political moritorium...

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