In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Civil War Redux?

Maybe I'm reading too much into things, but is this country headed toward another civil war? Contrary to the widespread twaddle back in the 2008 general election about Barack Obama's unifying, "post-racial" vision, his has become the most divisive administration in modern times, fomenting and exploiting controversies that pit "liberals" against conservatives, "blue states" against "red states," blacks against whites, gays against straights, atheists against believers, illegal immigrants against citizens, Main Street against Wall Street, tax consumers against tax payers, etc. etc. Instead of working sincerely to harmonize these contending interests, the administration seems eager to take the side it favors in each controversy and demonize or punish the other. Gone is any notion of governing from the center and effecting change gradually, through peaceful persuasion. Guess that's not the Chicago way.

Moreover, so many recent issues, from illegal immigration to health care to gay marriage, seem to pit the federal government--consisting of the the White House and executive agencies, the Democrat-controlled Congress, and the federal courts (except perhaps, at the moment, the Supreme Court)--against the states and a majority of their citizens. In poll after poll, and in referenda and legislative enactments in states across the country, a majority of Americans have declared their desire for vigorous immigration enforcement, their opposition to mandatory, government-controlled health care, and their conviction that marriage is a status properly reserved for one man and one woman.

Has this opposition deterred Democrat leaders in the slightest from pursuit of their statist, social-transformist agenda? Apparently not. Instead, they arrogantly dismiss it as inconsequential, ignorant, deranged, hateful, and (most often) racist. When such opposition has threatened to obstruct their timetable and legislative goals (as in the recent health care fight), they duck behind closed doors to twist arms and cut deals, and then ram the results through over the carcasses of their more reluctant hangers-on (e.g., Joe Sestak) and maybe a RINO (Republican-In-Name-Only) or two. Despite multiple polls showing record low levels of popular approval for what the President (barely above 40 percent) and Congress (barely above 10 percent) have been doing, they seem blithely unconcerned about being held to account for their "work" at the people's ballot box in November. Indeed, while record numbers of Americans go without jobs in a sputtering economy undermined by exploding, unpopular budget deficits and "bailouts" for the favored few, our President treats himself to lavish parties and endless rounds of golf, and his family to expensive European vacations on the taxpayers' dime.

When leaders in a "democracy" show such disdain for a majority of the people and deliberately pursue policies contrary to their needs and desires, they are clearly not committed to democracy, but rather to rule by an "elite" (which includes, of course, themselves) that they deem more informed and more virtuous than the unwashed masses. That the dominant party in Washington (and its hangers-on in state governments like California and New York) has embraced this view has been noted by British commentator Niles Gardner, who (pointing out the American mainstream media's silence about it) highlights "the extravagance and arrogance on display among the White House elites that rule America as though they had been handed some divine right to govern with impunity." Mr. Gardner observes:
The First Lady’s ill-conceived trip to Marbella and the complete disregard for public opinion and concerns over excessive government spending is symbolic of a far wider problem with the Obama presidency – the overarching disdain for the principles of limited government, individual liberty and free enterprise that have built the United States over the course of nearly two and a half centuries into the most powerful and free nation on earth.

It is epitomised above all by the President’s relentless drive towards big government against the will of the American people, and the dramatic increases in government spending and borrowing, which threaten to leave the US hugely in debt for generations. It is also showcased by Barack Obama’s drive towards a socialised health care system, which, as I’ve noted before, is “a thinly disguised vanity project for a president who is committed to transforming the United States from the world’s most successful large-scale free enterprise economy, to a highly interventionist society with a massive role for centralized government.”
The latest indication of President Obama's imperious attitude and indifference to popular judgment is his endorsement for the construction of a mosque and Islamic center only two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City, despite opposition to the plan by a majority of New Yorkers and more than two-thirds of Americans. Legally this is only New Yorkers' business and none of the President's or the federal government's, but he couldn't pass up a chance to lecture us all about religious freedom, tolerance, and the separation of church and state--all of which are beside the point, since the proposed mosque's sponsors could have sought its location at any number of other places than the clearly provocative one near Ground Zero, and rejected an offer by Gov. David Patterson to have the center located elsewhere in the vicinity of the property now at issue. But the President is obviously more concerned about the feelings (and votes?) of the Muslim minority than he is about the integrity of local legal proceedings or the feelings and judgment of most New Yorkers and Americans.

This festering conflict between the White House/Congress/federal government on the one hand, and the states and the majority of Americans, on the other, can't go on indefinitely--something has to give, and unless the "give" happens at the ballot box, it could happen in the streets.

Through history, revolutions have usually precipitated civil wars, because revolutionary leaders--despite their protestations of working for "the people"--don't really care in the least what the people think or want. Revolutionaries only care about what they think and want, and they're perfectly willing to go war against the (unenlightened) masses to get it. The President and many Democrat leaders in Congress, together with their advisers, contributors, and friends in and outside government, have made no secret of their desire to "transform" America into a paradise based on socialist economic and moral values. If they have to drag the majority of Americans, kicking and screaming, toward their vision of what this country should be, so be it. As opposition strengthens at local and state levels and across the nation in the Tea Party and like movements, the federal government fights back in Congress, the courts, and the mainstream media. Who will go down first?

Ten score and 34 years ago, ordinary Americans picked up arms in rebellion against a remote, imperious government in London whose minions had little understanding and no regard for the people on whose freedoms they had been trampling for years with steadily increasing force. Four score and five years after that, a third of the states and millions of their citizens rebelled violently against what they saw as a remote, imperious government in Washington bent on dictating how they would be allowed to live and work. Could it happen here again, as we approach the 150th anniversary (in 2011) of the last Civil War's opening shots? It's hard and unpleasant to imagine, but today even as in the past, ordinary Americans will only stand for so much, and there's ample precedent in our history for armed resistance. God forbid this should come to pass, but it's entirely possible if our federal government is able to continue much longer on its present course. One can only hope in the truth of this observation by the perceptive Mr. Gardner:
There is . . . a political revolution fast approaching Washington that is driven not by mob rule but by the power of ideas and principles, based upon the ideals of the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution. It is a distinctly conservative revolution that is sweeping America and is reflected in almost every poll ahead of this November’s mid-terms. It is based on a belief in individual liberty, limited government, and above all, political accountability from the ruling elites. The Obama administration’s mantra may well be “let them eat cake”, as it continues to gorge itself on taxpayers’ money, but it will be looking nervously over its shoulder as public unease mounts.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Coming and Going

Yes, it's been more than three weeks since my last post. :-( Since then we've spent a delightful week at the Fleming Family Reunion in Lake Norman, North Carolina (about which I hope to post in the near future, when our lives have settled down a bit), and after our return I've had two frantic weeks catching up at work and getting ready for our next week-long trip to Idaho to visit my daughter and her husband, for which we're leaving in five days. I'll probably have time for only one more post before our departure. Thanks to my readers for their patience as I try to make time for work, play, and rumination all at once. Remember the motto of this blog: "Quality Over Quantity!"