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Fred Fox / May 6, 2014

We Shall Overcome

Barack Obama rode out of nowhere into Washington on a wave of popular adulation. Hailed as THE ONE who would bring our nation back from the brink, he vowed to fix what his predecessor broke. He cheerfully accepted praise and outright worship (not to mention a Nobel Prize) with a smiling face and outstretched arms. He would preside over a new nation of peace and prosperity, befriending enemies and ending war while governing with transparency and bipartisanship. Results: Nobel – wasted. Promises – fruitless. Opportunity – squandered. What happened?

He found that his job included more than smiling, promising and being adored. He was hired to govern but didn’t know how so he set about passing laws that would ‘fundamentally change’ our culture. His way. But ambiguity replaced the promised transparency. Past questionable associations were buried and he refused to make public any personal records.

Bipartisanship was history. Instead of the promised vetting of proposed legislation on public television, we received seriously flawed partisan law crafted behind closed doors. He discovered that ending an ill-conceived war was not so easy. He has failed to govern, choosing instead to rule by Executive Order, to continue campaigning and raising funds, while unemployment and government intervention into business increased and the national debt burgeoned. His Way was not working.

The smiles and outstretched arms have given way to frowns – even petulance – when criticized. It appears that he likes crowds but not the people in them.

Who is this man? We still don’t know, yet we elected him – TWICE – on the strength of charisma and promises not to be fulfilled. Non-taxpayers flocked to vote for him believing that they would benefit from government largesse. So far, no one has benefited. We’re still losing.

Our nation has been fundamentally defined down in the past few years at the hand of one man, and we have only ourselves to blame. We bought the promises of an empty suit on his word alone. Desperate people do desperate things, and deserve what they get.

What we got was a duplicitous President who bypassed Congress, ruling by fiat while ignoring his executive duties (to execute the wishes of the citizenry) as well as those of Commander-in-Chief. Saying that Al Qaeda was decimated did not make it so, a fact underscored by his deceitful treatment of the Benghazi terrorist attack and holding back critical details in its reporting so as not to jeopardize his running for (successful) reelection which would likely have been unsuccessful had he not lied and the facts about Benghazi made public.

But there’s a brighter side. It showed that our predominantly white nation could put its faith in a black man – TWICE – for the highest office in the land (so let’s not hear about racism). And we got a wake-up call. We learned to be more cautious when electing our president. Our faith was misplaced, but we’ll survive and grow from the experience.

The 2010 election showed that Americans are paying closer attention, and the next one will underscore that fact. The next administration will be more responsive to the wishes of the people. Or else…

To borrow a phrase from the past, “We shall overcome.” And we’ll be better for it.

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