Tag Archives: Barack Obama

On Joe Wilson’s Behavior

     There are certain ways to behave if you are a Representative listening to the President’s speech.  Joe Wilson’s heckling of President Obama is not one of them.  It was completely inappropriate, and if no other right-leaning person says so, I will say so.

     I hope that he is sanctioned for his outburst.  It was not fitting the dignity of his office or of the situation.   It certainly does not make the United States look very good in the eyes of outsiders.  If our elected officials cannot be civil, then how can the general public be any better?  He let people down as a role model and as a representative.

     It is not about the courage to speak one’s mind.  It is about the proper time and place for doing so.  Wilson was right to apologize for his conduct, but as I said, he should also face official censure.

Tattling in America

     From time to time I have expressed my concerns for the future of the United States under the current administration.  I have often exaggerated, or at least I thought that I was exaggerating.

     Now the President wants people to tattle on their fellow citizens, if they say or write something “fishy” about the Democrats’ health insurance bill.  Senator John Cornyn of Texas has asked the President to explain what is going on

     What do you think about a President’s requesting people to send him private e-mail messages and other private communications?  Is it appropriate?  Is it constitutional?

     Have any of you turned me in for my recent blog post that criticized the health insurance bill?  What will happen to those who do get reported?  I wonder if I should be watching over my shoulder.  I wonder if I will find a dead snake in my mailbox or a horse’s head in my bed.  (Yes, I am being facetious!)

The President’s Speech in Cairo

     As usual, President Obama gave a great speech in Cairo.  He is a superb speaker.  He gets an A for rhetoric and an A for inspiration.  In the historical accuracy department, he gets only a D, however.

     Before I look at any of the points he made, I want so ask a nagging question.  Why were Obama’s political opponents rebuked for mentioning his middle name, his Muslim heritage, or his childhood experiences in Indonesia before the election, but now he proudly uses his middle name, refers to his Muslim heritage, and speaks radiantly about his growing up in Indonesia?  Didn’t the conservative pundits predict that he might make overtures exactly like the ones he made in Cairo?  And weren’t they dismissed, heckled, and even insulted at the time?  (This is a separate point from whether you agree with him or liked the speech.  It is about his continued hypocrisy and inconsistency.)

     On the Plus Side:  Good Points in the President’s Speech

President Obama rightly extolled the rich history and the legacy of contributions made by Muslims to the rest of the world.  It is true that many advancements in learning were made by Muslim scholars and passed on to the rest of the world.

He rightly kept a firm, disapproving attitude toward terrorism and oppression in the Muslim world.

He extolled the great contributions of the United States to the world and urged Muslims to realize that misperceptions occur on their side as well as on ours.

He supported the right of Israel to exist and reiterated the most important rationale for that existence–the anti-Semitism that propelled the need for a Jewish homeland. 

On the Negative Side:  Bad Points in President Obama’s Speech

He talked a lot about fear and mistrust and very little about whether that fear and mistrust are warranted.  When anti-American sermons are being preached daily in mosques around the world, a bit of fear and mistrust seems reasonable.  When buildings and buses are being blown up, being unafraid and trustful is a bit absurd.  Rather than holding out an unconditional olive branch, I wish that the President had put conditions on our “new beginning.”  Trust should be earned.

He was a bit too glowing in his praise of Islam.  He did not mention that Muslim people bought and sold slaves in Africa, forced people to convert or at least submit to their rule.  Ironically he mentioned Muslim centers in Spain but failed to mention that those communities were invaded and conquered by Muslims from North Africa.  It is not fair to denounce colonialism and imperialism by Europe, which he did, but to praise colonialism and imperialism by Muslims.

Furthermore, he made only mild comments about the oppression of women.  He made it sound like it is simply a matter of women being denied education or career opportunities.  He glossed over female gential mutilation, slavery and virutal slavery, spousal abuse, or whippings and executions for alleged adultery.

He completely ignored the horrible treatment of homosexual people in most Muslim-majority countries.  In a time when more and more American states are legalize same-sex marraige and civil unions of same-sex couples, you would think that he might have said something about the hangings and beheadings of people accused of homosexual acts in many of the Islamic republics.

His extolling of the Muslim influence on America was extremely exaggerated.  I have no qualms about Muslim people living in America or practicing their religion (within reason) in America.  In God’s eyes, and according to our Consitution, they are equal to any other people in the United States.  However, we need not exaggerate and pretend that they have always been a large part of our country or somehow been instumental in our founding and our progress.

Apparently he considers the brand of Islam that sprung up among African Americans as legitimate Islam.  However, it is my understanding that many of those groups are not recognized as orthodox Islam by the official Muslim bodies.  I bring up this point, because the President seemed to imply that African American “Muslims” were the Muslims that he referred to as having such a huge impact on the United States.  (I’m far from an expert on this subject, so I am open to correction.)

He was much too hard on Israel.  He stated the right premise–that Israel has a right to exist.  However, he did not grapple with the obvious conclusions that follow from that premise.  Instead he castigated Israel for the things that it has had to do to continue to exist.  I am fine with his advocating the formation of a Palestinian state.  I just wish that it would be conditional on more good-faith gestures of peace on the part of Palestinian people and of the greater Arab world.

The Post I Should Have Written

     President Obama is the greatest man who has ever lived.  He is smarter, handsomer, and braver than any human being in the history of the world.  Actually he is beyond human.  There is nothing beyond the scope of his abilities.

     I can’t wait until he creates a job for every single person in America.  Better yet, he’ll probably just give everyone a billion dollars to live off without working.  Then again, we won’t need money, because he’ll personally build each one of us a house and deliver fully cooked meals to each family three times a day.

     Energy crisis?  Not to worry.  President Obama is working night and day in his laboratory to create cars and appliances that run on nothing but mental telepathy.  World peace?  No problem.  President Obama will just have a friendly chat with cruel dictators and ruthless terrorists, and they will all just start being nice.  Global warming?  Piece o’ cake.  President Obama will blow his cooling breath across the globe, and the polar ice caps will be restored to their former thickness.

     President Obama has already done so much.  He has been a state legislator and a United States senator for one term.  Nobody has ever done such great things before in the history of our country.  For the first time in my life, I am truly proud of my country.

     You might think that I am exaggerating, but I’m not.  I have such hope when I listen to Barack Obama that my spine tingles.  I know that he is the one who will fulfill all my hopes and dreams.  Oh, that he had come to earth sooner!  Then there would be no poverty or sickness or war.

A Scary Inauguration

     I read an article about the inauguration in the Wall Street Journal.  There is much in the article that made me literally shiver, and I mean with fear rather than with excitement.

Scary Thing #1

But with the U.S. in its worst economic crisis since the Depression and at war on two fronts, Barack Obama was expected to call on the country to embrace a new culture of responsibility when he takes office at noon.

This bit is unbelievably ironic.  What Barack Obama has called for is the exact opposite of responsiblity.  Bailing people out of problems that they caused themselves is allowing them to avoid responsibility.  Believing that it is the “government’s” job to take care of people, is on the exact opposite end of the spectrum from personal responsibility.

Scary Thing #2

That’s just one of the new policies symbolizing the change to come as Washington shifts from eight years of Republican rule under George W. Bush.

That a journalist writing for the Wall Street Journal could refer to a president’s administration as a “rule” shows just how far we have fallen from the republican system outlined in the Constitution.  George Bush did not rule the country.  The executive branch is equal to the other two branches, according to the Constitution, and if any branch “rules” the country it is more the legislative branch than the executive branch, and that has been mostly under the control of Democrats.  (Not to mention that President Bush was a pathetic example of Republican!)

Scary Thing #3

Within days, Mr. Obama also is expected to issue executive orders to begin closing the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, one of the most controversial symbols of the Bush administration’s war on terror; reversing Mr. Bush’s restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and restoring funding for family planning programs overseas.

This thing is scary enough by itself, for obvious reasons, but compare it to this quotation:

Mr. Obama on Monday spoke the message he will deliver at his swearing-in: The time has come for a new culture of public service, as well as a new national unity after years of bitter partisan political division.

Huh?  How do your create a “new national unity” with policies that are more radical than any president’s since FDR?  How do you create unity by instituting programs that millions of Americans vehemently disagree with?  And what are parties for anyway but to divide people into different political camps?  There’s nothing wrong with partisan division, and I actually wish there had been more of it during the last eight years instead of the acquiescence of our Republican leaders.

Scary Thing #4

On the economic front, Mr. Obama’s administration is likely to soon issue new regulations forcing recipients of Wall Street bailout funds to be more transparent with the money, an aide said.

[Sarcasm on] Oh, yes, we need the government to spend more money to fund more regulatory and watchdog agencies.  We just don’t have enough bureaucracy yet.  Regulations have prevented an economic crisis so far, I’ve noticed. [Sarcasm off]

Scary Thing #5

The most ailing financial institutions will not be forced to lend immediately, but healthier banks will be under pressure to move money from their vaults into the economy.

Why should any private business ever be “forced” to do anything?  Oh, yeah, they’re not really private anymore, are they?  But we have a free market economy don’t we?   Ugh!!!!

Scary Thing #6

Visitors made their way through a maze of crowd-control barriers and past dozens of sellers hawking wrist bands, T-shirts and a Spider-Man comic featuring Mr. Obama on the cover.

Is this what the presidency has devolved into?  We didn’t elect an able public servant.  We elected a superhero.  I think that I have lived too long.

Scary Thing #7

“Given the crisis that we’re in and the hardships that so many people are going through, we can’t allow any idle hands,” Mr. Obama said, taking a break from painting a dormitory at Sasha Bruce House, a shelter for homeless teens. “Everybody’s got to be involved. Everybody’s going to have to pitch in, and I think the American people are ready for that.”

In what form of government are people not “allowed” to be free?  In what form of government are people told what they “have” to do?

Scary Thing #8

Before Mr. Obama speaks, the evangelical Rev. Rick Warren will deliver the invocation, a choice that infuriated gay-rights activists and many others but signaled the new president’s interest in reaching out to Americans who are not part of his political base.

So, they demand that their opponents be tolerant of them, but they refuse to be tolerant of their opponents? 

Scary Thing #9

During appearances on Monday, Mr. Obama returned to the themes of unity and self-reliance.

How’s that for a perfect little snippet of Newspeak.  It’s as though Mr. Obama is trying to make the novel 1984 come true.

Conservatives vs Liberals on Race

     There has been an interesting discussion at World Magazine Blog on the song “Barack the Magic Negro.”  I can’t believe how stupid people can be.  The song is a parody of a column written by a liberal black man.  Nevertheless, people have said that the satirical song is racist.  Never mind that it was the liberal black man, David Ehrenstein, who called Barack Obama a “Magic Negro.”

     (It reminds me of the man who was offended by the word niggardly and the man who was offended by the phrase black hole.  I think somebody could write a song that said, “Don’t call people N—-r, because it’s not a nice name,” and people would object to it as racist because it contained the N-word.)

     It was a year-and-a-half before the election when Ehrenstein published the original column in the Los Angeles Times.  Hillary Clinton was considered a shoo-in.  I think that Al Sharpton might still have been in the running, and it is an imitation of his voice that is used in the song.  Politically speaking, Barack Obama was his (and Jesse Jackson’s) worst nightmare.  At that time it was acceptable for certain African Americans to question Obama’s blackness, but once he had locked up the nomination he became the icon that epitomized all the longings and hopes that African Americans had held for centuries.  Odd, no?

     I think that the reaction to the song reveals a lot of things that are mostly under the surface of our country’s psyche.  For liberals, life is encapsulated in words and symbols.  Because the song had the word “negro” in it, it was taken immediately as racist.  Never mind that the word is still part of the name of the United Negro College Fund.  Forget the fact that it was a black liberal who called Obama that.  Although it was okay to question Obama’s blackness in 2007 (after all he was raised by an Indonesian stepfather and a white American mother), he eventually became the ultimate and perfect symbol of African American culture, much to the chagrin of Jesse Jackson.  (I’m sure you remember that Jackson wanted to castrate Obama, and then he cried during his acceptance speech.  Words and symbols, words and symbols).

     In the meantime, conservatives were asking about each of the nominees, Clinton and Obama included:  Is this person qualified?  Are his stated positions good for our country?  Does his or her voting record show consistency and good judgment?  They were discounting race and sex as reasons for voting for a candidate.  They were making fun of people who either portrayed Obama as “The Magic Negro” or as a black secular Messiah.  Nobody–white, black, Asian, or Latino–should be portrayed in such absolute or burdensome terms.

     So who are the real racists?  In a column on this same topic, Larry Elder points out that the Democratic Party was the party of anti-black bigots while the Republican Party was supporting civil rights and desegregation.  He points out that the Republican Party platform would help black people, especially school choice and privatized retirement funds. 

     I would also like to point out that African Americans mostly oppose abortion and same-sex marriage, yet the Democratic Party is strongly in favor of those things.  Although they want law enforcement done in a just manner, they want their neighborhoods freed of drugs and violence.

     Why then do African Americans remain loyal to the Democratic Party?  Despite all evidence to the contrary, I think many of them are convinced that Republicans are mostly white bigots.  As Larry Elder points out, they have been fed that line over and over.  It’s no wonder that many people would believe it.  I agree with Elder that Republicans need to be more proactive in showing how their platform is more in line with their core values and more beneficial to them in the long run.  

     So who are the real racists?  Is it the black man who called Barack Obama a “Magic Negro” and said that white people would vote for him only out of guilt and only because he was perceived as “safe”?  Or is it the white people who can boldly ridicule that nonsense because they truly judge people on their merits and not on their skin color?

Too Wide a Gap

     David R. Stokes has written an interesting opinion piece about Rick Warren and his selection by President-elect Obama to pray at the inauguration.

     Stokes makes one very important point that I think all evangelicals should think about.  We can reach out to homosexual people, we can love them, we can have dialogue with them, we accept them as the fellow human beings and fellow citizens that they are.  However, as a group they are not likely to express much warmth or respect toward us as long as we hold to the biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful.  That’s the gap that we simply cannot cross.  Stokes calls it “An Evangelical Bridge Too Far.”

     He compares it to the gap between Israelis and Palestinians.  As long as so-called Palestinians want to obliterate Israel and claim the Holy Land in its entirety, no amount of land give-aways will satisfy or pacify them.  Many of their leaders have clearly said that they do not want some of the Holy Land.  They want it all, especially Jerusalem.  Giving them a “Palestinian State” does not meet their ultimate goal, and cannot bring about peace.  All of the well-meaning liberals who suggest “compromise” and urge restraint on the part of Israel have simply not listened to Palestinian demands.  Their naive delusion is that the so-called Palestinian people simply want to live next door to a Jewish state in peace and cooperation.  That’s not, however, what Palestinain spokespeople have said or what they have demonstrated.

     Evangelicals in America are likewise deluding themselves if they think that they can sit on the fence.  Yes, we should always express love and tolerance toward all people, including homosexual people.  We should respect their rights as human beings and citizens and should use nothing but courtesy toward them.  Where we can agree, we should say so.  However, when it gets down to the main issue–the issue of people’s standing with God–we cannot ignore His condemnation of homosexual behavior, among other sins.

     I have tried it.  I have tried to ignore the sin issue and just be kind and decent to homosexual people.  I would never ever hurt somebody because of his or her “sexual identity” or “sexual preference.”  I would consider it a grave sin to do so.  But that is not enough.  Homosexual people that I know in real life and on the Internet want me to consider their relationships with people of the same sex equivalent to a relationship between people of the opposite sex.  They want me to call such a relationship a marriage.  They want me to give my full endorsement to behavior that the Bible calls a sin.  I cannot go there.  It’s not truthful, and it’s not loving in the long run.

What I Do Not Think

     A recent post and the comments that followed got me feeling defensive.  It seems that people continually want to read things into what I write–things that I did not write and do not believe.  I’ve noticed the same thing on many other blogs.  I’ve probably been guilty of it myself.

     When we read somebody’s blog post, we size them up, we peg them.  Ah, you’re an atheist; you probably think that it’s okay to euthanize old people.  So, you’re a liberal; you think that the government should take over every business in America.  And you, you’re a Christian conservative; you must hate Muslims and consider them all terrorists.

     Could we all, me included, knock it off?  Could people please comment on what I actually write instead of on what you think I think–because of the caricature of me that you have in your mind?  A person can oppose Muslim terrorists without believing that every terrorist is a Muslim.  (I’m sure that many Muslims do that very thing!)  A person can question widespread Muslim support for terrorism without believing that Muslims cannot be good, loyal Americans.

     People have concluded all sorts of things from my post that I never said.  Here’s my refutation:

I do not think that Muslims cannot be real Americans.  There’s no religious qualification for being an American.

I do not think that having an “exotic” name means that one cannot be a real American.  I know all about immigration and the many ethnic groups within our great country.

I know that President-elect Obama is not a Muslim.

I know that not all Muslims are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers.

I know that not all terrorists are adherents to Islam.  There are all kinds of terrorists in the world, including some that claim to be Christians.

I do not think that Obama’s birth certificate is fake, although I have no way of proving it either way.

I know that we have had Muslims in the military who have fought and died to defend us.  I admire them and feel gratitude toward them.  (It’s odd that people who consider our military actions equivalent to terrorism suddenly want to show pride in Muslim soldiers!)

     Here’s what I know:

President-elect Obama promised to pull our troops out of Iraq, to meet unconditionally with Ahmadinejad, and to “reboot” our image in the Muslim world.  Those things scare me very much.

There are radical Muslims who are terrorists.  Ask the survivors of terrorist acts if that is not so.  There are many, many more Muslims who cheer them on and fund their efforts.  There are even Islamic Republics doing so.   That’s not bigotry; it’s fact.

     And here are some things that I believe very strongly.

Terrorism is not morally equivalent to armed actions by legitimate governments or to actions by official military personnel.  To equate the two is very unsound thinking and, I strongly believe, evil. 

Raking in the Dough on Obama

     There have been so many ironies surrounding Barack Obama’s candidacy and election.  The latest is that lots of entrepreneurs are selling merchandise related to him.  They’d better sell the stuff now, because Obama’s tax plan won’t make it easy for them to keep their profits.

Looking at The Bright Side

     I am disappointed in the election results.  Very disappointed.  I have some nagging fears about the future.  Nevertheless, I am choosing to look at the bright side.

     I am happy that democracy is alive and well in the United States of America.  The process still works.  Obama was duly and legally elected.

     I am happy that America has reached a point where a member of a minority group could be elected.  I had hoped that our first non-white president would be a Republican, but I am proud to be in a country where Barak Obama could win the presidential election.

     I know that God is still the Sovereign of the universe.  Having Barack Obama as President of the United States is part of his overarching plan for the world.

     The Democrats now have the chance to prove themselves.  They have made big promises, and Obama has made the biggest promises of all.  Let’s see if somehow a more leftist approach will accomplish the things that they say it will.  It never has before–in any other country at any other time–but, hey, let’s give them a chance.  Let’s see this big change, and let’s see whether it will be for the better.

     Because I don’t believe that things will get better (in fact, I’d put money on their getting worse), I hope that the country will react with a quick, wide swing back to the right.  I hope that whatever mess the Democrats make will be able to be solved by more conservative leaders, who will be elected four years from now.  Palin, anyone?

     I will pray for Mr. Obama’s well-being.  I will pray for God to grant Him wisdom and courage, just as I have prayed for previous presidents and other leaders.  It is my Christian duty.  I will respect him as my civic executive leader, even when I disagree with him.

     How about you?