Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Obama Presidency: How Far We Have Come...

Well over a year since my initial commentary on our country's prospects under an Obama administration, I reviewed my initial assessment from October 2008 and find it sadly confirmed. Just a reminder:

--"Eleventh hour developments with both presidential campaigns have raised grave concerns with this citizen. Senator Obama's recent focus on redistribution of wealth, or variations of such notions, concern me greatly. As one who experienced a people's paradise and two socialist-style societies directly and personally for extended periods of time, I am appalled at the notion that the citizens of MY adopted country would even entertain such options.

The long-standing promises of the "land of opportunities" - based on the pursuit of happiness and the implied and proven potential of success through hard work and perseverance were to me and remain to countless would-be immigrant the ultimate reason for desiring American citizenship. The idea of being responsible for one's own destiny - rather than having government dictate the parameters of happiness and success - has a timeless appeal. It is this ideal that I perceived in American values as a child and I ultimately found in my country of choice. There is simply no way to express adequately the feeling of exhilaration at the ability to choose one's own destiny.

In a government-controlled society, be it communist, socialist or some light version thereof, the idea of controlling your own fate is largely a fantasy. At best you are labeled into a certain category of citizen or profession, without a realistic chance to reach higher. At worst you are relegated to doing the "people's" work, meaning the government officials' work, based on largely inscrutable reasons, save for "sucking up" to all-powerful party hacks (read those who know what is best for the masses), inevitably requiring casting aside any principles of integrity and fostering a culture of deceit and sycophancy.

Social justice and a fair distribution of income sounds laudable, but it favors those who choose destructive or less productive life styles, while punishing those who choose self-reliance, perseverance and the pursuit of happiness. The concept of personal charity and generosity to others is largely non-existent in socialist systems, because it is assumed to be the government's role, like everything else.

I fell supremely privileged to be an American, so much so that I felt compelled to give back by serving my country in the military. I find the spirit of generosity of my fellow citizens admirable, something I experience constantly even in my small community, but something I never experienced in Europe, where I lived in several countries for many years. Thus I predict with dread that charity will decline considerably under an Obama administration fostering wealth redistribution policies. We are a generous people, but we like our freedom of charity choice and we do not like someone's choice of life style to become our responsibility.

After watching all the debates, many interviews, news analyses, commentaries, etc., I am convinced that an Obama-style government will be counter to our dearly-held American values. Most of us want and need a smaller government focused on the basic needs of the people - safety and security - and more personal responsibility from citizens."--

And where we are now appears to be suspiciously similar to what I feared in my commentary above. However, I am pleased to see concerned citizens of the formerly largely silent majority finally becoming vocal and visible!

Politicians - take notice!