Enemy of the State
By John D. Turner
26 Oct 2010

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.” – President Barack Obama, radio interview on Univision, 25 Oct 2010.

I respect the office of the President of the United States. The holder of that office is my president, regardless of the party to which he or she may belong. I might disagree with him politically; I might not like him personally, but for at least the next four years he is the leader of my country; he is my president.

I have never had much truck with those who loudly claim “well, he’s not my president, I didn’t vote for him!” It’s OK to oppose his policies if you don’t agree with them. It’s OK to protest; this is America, and according to our Constitution, we can do that here. Every four years we have a presidential election and at that time we get to try and elect someone else if we don’t like the current person or party holding the office. But the current office holder is the president. The office is to be respected.

The corollary to this of course, is that the President is the president for all the people, not just those who pulled the lever for him. It is the job of the President to be the president for all Americans, even those which disagree vehemently with his policies.

The President is supposed to be a person with a vision for the future of the country. The President is supposed to be a leader; when things go wrong, be it a natural disaster, an economic meltdown, war, or some other problem, the President is the one we turn to for leadership. Ultimately, the President is the one who either gets the credit or takes the blame, depending on the outcome. As President Truman once so famously said, “the buck stops here.”

Barack Obama was touted as the “Great Uniter”; a “post-racial” president who was going to heal the divides in our nation and lead us forward to a new era of prosperity and hope. He was going to change the way we view our government; change the direction we were headed; change the status quo.

So what is one to make of the statement he recently made on his Univision radio interview?

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us…”

It sounds a bit like something Harry Reid had to say recently on the campaign trail, also speaking to a mostly Hispanic audience:

“I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay. Do I need to say more?”

Punish our enemies? Reward our friends? Race baiting? This is “uniting?”

When he refers to “our enemies”, is he perhaps speaking of al Quaida or the Taliban, whom we are currently engaged with on the field of battle? Is he talking about Iran, or Venezuela, or other nations around the globe who do not have our best interests at heart and whom we are actively engaged with, at least on the diplomatic front?

No, the context isn’t foreign policy. It isn’t the Global War on Terror, or the War on Islamic Extremism, or “global man-made disasters” or whatever we are calling it this week. The context was the upcoming national elections. The context was “those who do not stand with us on issues that are important to us.” Those folks, according to the president, are “the enemy.”

That would be us; all of those who oppose the president’s policies; those of us who are more conservative in our views. Those whose allegiance is to the Republican Party, or who are independents or even Democrats who would dare to vote other than Democrat in the upcoming elections.

That would be “the rich.” You know, those evil so-and-sos (content edited by my wife) who employ us? That would be the greedy bankers who enable us to purchase homes by providing mortgages, and the fat cats who go to Las Vegas and spend money while millions of Americans are out of work.

Ever wonder, those of you in Las Vegas, why your unemployment rates are so high? Oh yes, that’s right; that was the President instructing folks on the proper behavior to display during a recession. “Don’t go to Vegas and spend money”, he said. Your jobs are evidently unimportant. As far as Harry is concerned, at least you can take solace in the fact that while he may not have saved your jobs, at least he single-handedly saved the world from financial Armageddon; in his own mind anyway.

We are no longer fellow Americans with a different vision. We are the enemy. We are to be punished. I never in my wildest dreams ever expected to hear an American president describe fellow Americans who disagreed with his political views “the enemy.”

However, thus spake Obama.

Perhaps it’s just me, being in the crosshairs and all, but it seems an odd way to unite the country. It reminds me of when I was in college. A group of us used to get together periodically to play Risk. If you are unfamiliar with the game, it is a game of global conquest. The object is to conquer the world, and the one who does so is the winner. I had a friend who used to start the game by proclaiming his peaceful intentions towards us and soon thereafter attacked. “I believe in world peace”, he would say, “and I believe the world will be at peace – after I conquer it.”

Maybe it’s like that. Maybe we will all be united – after the “enemy” has been “punished;” after the country has been purged of those who disagree.

Mr. Obama went on to slam Republicans who support border security, immigration laws, and specifically support Arizona’s recently passed anti-illegal immigration law. You know, the one the government is suing to overturn? According to Mr. Obama, “Those aren’t the kinds of folks who represent our core American values.”

Has anyone asked Mr. Obama recently what his definition of “our” American core values might be? I am really curious to know. Polling data shows that 70% of Arizonan’s support the law that was passed. Of course, it could just be that Arizona is a bastion of racist xenophobes who reject America’s core values when it comes to immigration. Unfortunately for that theory, polling data shows over 55% of Americans across the country support the law, with the number going up as knowledge of the law’s actual content increases.

Any number greater than 50% would indicate a plurality of Americans. Is the President now saying that the majority of Americans “are not the kinds of folks who represent our American values?” Once again, what is the definition of “our”? Does “our” mean the majority of Americans, or does “our” mean the values held by Progressives?

Is this part of the radically new Democratic election strategy that seems to have emerged recently, whereby Democrats seem to think they can win votes by insulting and demonizing the electorate?

“We have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what’s happening.” – John Kerry, Sep 2010.

It’s kind of like that magical word “change.” That worked pretty good for y’all in the last election cycle. By the way, what does “change” mean, really?

Guess what electorate? According to Democrats, the problem isn’t their agenda, it’s just that you are too stupid, ignorant, and scared to understand all the good stuff they are doing for you.

“People out there are still hurting very badly, and they are still scared. And so part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared, and they have good reason to be.” – Barack Obama, 18 Oct 2010.

Well, at least he got the last part right. People are scared. Maybe part of the reason we are scared is that none of the promises made so far have panned out. Maybe we are scared because we see trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, with no attempts to rein in spending, but instead a daily barrage of news articles on how taxes are going to go up. Maybe it’s because we see no evidence of willingness on the part of government to tighten their belts while at the same time telling us that we will have to tighten ours.

Maybe it’s the daily demonstrations of incompetence on the part of those you, Mr. President, have appointed to high government positions, the constant drumbeat of malfeasance in office, and the apparent disdain for the average American displayed by your leadership in the House and Senate that is causing this fear. Maybe it’s the lack of transparency and the apparent “flexibility” of the campaign promises you made concerning this “most ethical administration in the history of the nation”. Maybe we have heard that promise made a few too many times in the past 20-30 years to ever believe it again.

Maybe we are concerned about a foreign policy that seems to continually dis our allies and reward our enemies. Maybe we are having problems understanding your fascination, Mr. President, with reducing the number of U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads, which have not been pointing at each other since the end of the cold war, while at the same time appearing unconcerned over continued production of North Korean nuclear weapons, aggressive attempts by Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and now moves by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to do so as well. Maybe the thought of countries which on numerous occasions have called for our destruction having nuclear weapons scares us more than the possession of such weapons by a country that is currently, if not our friend, at least not threatening us. Maybe we are becoming tired of your administration’s apparent attitude that America is just another country, no better than others and perhaps a bit worse than most. Many of us knuckle-draggers out here in flyover territory still adhere to the concept of American Exceptionalism.

Maybe we are simply tired of the three-ring circus that has come to town since you took over; a Treasury Secretary that couldn’t figure out how to pay his taxes, but somehow was still the only person in the entire country who could figure out how to save the country from economic disaster, and keep unemployment, currently over 9.5% under eight (yes, you read that correctly). How about a vice-President that has the worst case of verbal diarrhea I have ever seen; who constantly has to be corrected because he consistently “misspeaks.” His verbal gaffes would make Quayle quail. Then there is the man who undoubtedly is the most incompetent press secretary ever to slouch across the stage. Can it be possible that the same people who made Robert Gibbs press secretary are the same folks that called George Bush inarticulate? The list goes on but I need to get this article finished before the elections. They are only a week away!

Maybe we are afraid because it appears we have a government out of control; a Congress where everything is an emergency and has to be passed without debate, coupled with a presidential Chief of Staff who has the philosophy “never let a good crisis go to waste”, and a government that seems to be good at ginning up crises. How about a Congress who thinks it’s OK to pass massive legislation without even reading what they are passing! “No, I don’t know what’s in the bill – but you’ll like it…trust me!”

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.” – Nancy Pelosi on the health care bill

Perhaps someone should tell Ms. Pelosi that a bill isn’t an archeological dig, where you examine something that has already occurred to find out what was there. The traditional method of passing legislation is to examine it first; to debate the bill, and then vote on whether to pass it or not. But I guess that is the “old fashioned” way of doing things; the “conservative” approach; the reactionary method. This new-fangled method is the more progressive way of doing business. Pass the bill! And then we will have ever so much fun digging through it to see what we find! Sort of like Christmas…

OOPS! Sorry. Can’t use that word, you know…

So apparently, I and others who disagree with this administration are now “the enemy.” So be it then. I have already cast my votes in the November election.

Are you ready to cast yours?