In Favor of Unity

I remember how I felt shortly after the election when Barak Obama was first elected President. It was not a pleasant feeling. It was downright confusing how so many people could see this man’s agenda as good or even appropriate. It was disheartening when his opponents were sometimes demonized as racist. It was ridiculous when some of his allies treated this new president as a political messiah. These feelings were made worse by the immediate and foolish actions which served to press his agenda, but divide the nation. I am still angered today by such, now famous, words as “elections have consequences” and “we will have to pass it to find out what is in it.” These manifestos of control divided the country in even deeper ways.

All across the urban areas of this country, people on the other side of the political spectrum are now feeling the sting that my conservative friends and I have felt for the past eight years.

So what should we conservatives do next?

We could retaliate now that we have control. We could pass every piece of legislation we want in a frenzy, we could speak out our own manifestos of control, and we could label our opponents as obstructionist, libtards, and whatever other term we find useful.  But this would make us just as divisive as the worst of our opponents have been.

Or we could look for ways to genuinely cooperate and move together.  No doubt legislation will be passed, but do so under normal rules of order, including healthy debate. No doubt proclamations are going to be undone, but don’t replace them with our own proclamations. Instead allow these ideas to weather the tests of congressional scrutiny and be passed as laws.  Instead of furthering the divide, let’s demonstrate that operating within the constraints of constitutional guidance works well without the need for creative interpretations of the document.

This work of reunifying our divisions is our most important challenge.

Many have pointed out that national debt is a huge problem. Obviously there is some unknown limit where the debt is beyond our ability to overcome.  Beyond that point our nation would lose its economic footing, be forced to default on loans, and our failure would affect not just our country but the whole world.

Similarly there is a limit to how divided we can be as a nation before the problem becomes unrecoverable. If we cause that to happen, or allow it to happen while blaming our opponents, the results will be even more disastrous.

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Justice Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin ScaliaThe death of Antonin Scalia this past week was not just sad news, it was scary news.

Scalia was a strong personality who sat firmly on the conservative side of the court. If President Obama succeeds in getting a nominee appointed to the court it will have a disastrous result in future decisions such as abortion, immigration, and gun control. But I doubt any of these would be the worst outcome of this turn of events.

The worst consequence would be in how the courts interpret the constitution. We have already seen a trend toward redefinition. But with the majority of justices moving in this direction we will see every one of our freedoms reduced to the solidity of Jello. Freedom of religion will be replaced by freedom of gender identity. (That is already moving foreward.) Freedom of the press will be replaced by a puppet media that promotes viewpoints instead of reports facts. (Oops, that one is already in the works, too.) Freedom of speech and the right to vote will be crippled first with poor information and later by constraints put into place to protect specific peoples. This will be closely associated with similar restrictions being put upon the right to assemble.

Scalia addressed this transition, already taking place, rather colorfully saying, “The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

Prior to that Abraham Lincoln put it this way, “The people—the people—are the rightful masters of both the congresses, and courts—not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”

Obama’s Legacy

I often see events, moments, and actions, which serve to define the times and persons involved. An individual choice can serve as an illustration of the overall pattern of a lifetime or career.

President Obama’s deal with Iran is one of those events. He is following a pattern we have seen already in trying to deal with both the economy and healthcare. That pattern in a nutshell is, for the sake of striking a deal now, we will push off the pain of the situation for later.

I am writing this blogpost after watching a press conference where President Obama tried to convince the nation to accept the Iran Nuclear Deal. This is the capper that I believe will be seen by historians as the defining moment of Obama’s presidency. It might be true that he will keep his promise, “Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon on my watch.” But his actions open the door for Iran to have that weapon later. Iran will be able to reintroduce many of the tools for building a weapon in 10 or 15 years, according to this plan.

There are three ingredients to all of President Obama’s bad deals.

  • Believing that the world has to come alongside us and agree with our choices.
  • Believing that when his administration does something it will work, even if previous administration did the same things and it failed for them.
  • Tunnel vision to complete a deal, so that the devil in the details is overlooked.

In his speech he pointedly stated, “With the world now unified beside us.” This is nice. But I remember a time when we lead the world. We did not wait for them to come alongside us before acting, but instead we lead out. We did what we knew was right, and yes, the world often followed. They did so because they saw us, even trusted us, to do right.

The president assures us this deal is “Ensuring that all pathways to a bomb are shut off.” He lists reasons that he believes this. Part of it is the bomb making tools and facilities they are temporarily not allowed to use. But the majority of this is because he is assuming the inspections set up under his deal will do what all the previous inspections failed to do. He believes this even though the kind of stalling tactics Iran has consistently used against us, are worked into this agreement. Everyone, including the Obama Administration, expects Iran to cheat on the deal. So why allow them to work the framework for cheating into the arrangements?

Finally, the Iran deal is a case of being so intent on reaching a deal that they overlooked how all the compromises added up to empowering the worst disaster the world has seen thus far. This tunnel vision is the only valid reason why they would continue blindly extending the deadlines to complete the deal. A nasty component of this tunnel vision is that prior to narrowing our field of view we would have stood up to Iran as an enemy because of its terrorist activities, and should be opposed for this reason regardless of whether they are trying to build a bomb.

President Obama says we have two choices, take the deal or go to war. I think it’s somewhat predictable we will have to go to war sooner or later. First because Iran will not give up their goals. They will continue to try and get a nuclear weapon. But also because they will continue to be a state sponsor of terrorism against us and our allies. And also because they will continue to desire the absolute destruction of Israel. President Obama is just putting off the pain of this battle until later.

Relationship with Israel

What I suspect will be the worst decision made by our current president recently came to light. In the past he has made it clear that he doesn’t support Israel in the ways that past presidents have. I wrote about this recently in a blogpost called Netanyahu and Congress.

The decision which I am referring to is not his treatment of Netanyahu on that visit, nor is it the condescending quotes thrown around by Democrats after the speech, but instead it was the recent information that Obama sent agents and money to try and influence the election in Israel.

Election tampering is not appropriately undertaken by the world’s poster child for democracy, but it is especially abhorrent when the action is taken against our allies. Or perhaps more accurately, this action clearly defines Israel as our enemy. We would not be the first nation to speak words of peace while acting in opposition to our own words, and any wise nation will understand the importance of behavior over rhetoric.

We were already moving in that direction by attempting to negotiate for Iran to have nuclear capability. I know the liberal bent on this is sugar coated, but our actions are promising them this capability eventually, if they will back off the goal for the time being. This deal is a hostile act against Israel, since anyone with common sense knows that is where they most would like to use nukes. Of course, common sense would also say we are second on their list.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope we can return to a positive relationship with Israel. If we do not a massive escalation of war in the region is predictable. The type of war that leaves no opportunity for neutrality.

Presidential Divisiveness

One of the current political questions is, who will run for president in 2016? We are in that awkward stage, where even though we basically know who will run, they are not yet officially committed.

Looking over the field, I notice something horrible. But let me explain some current history from my perspective for clarity sake first. Six years ago we elected a president who promised to bring the country together. We even reelected him two years ago, when he was promising that he would bring the country together as soon as his opponents decided to do everything his way.

For conservative minded people, like myself, this president has created an ever widening chasm between the two viewpoints, namely by refusing to compromise on anything, and then having his buddies in the media, blame the division on his opponents. This tactic has so alienated conservative America, that we now can’t hear the president’s name without bristling. Now we are aiming at another election. I suspect most voters believe an ability to work together should be the first qualification.

Now look at the candidates. Whether we like it or not there are some names in politics that introduce rancor merely by their mention. For the party of Lincoln, we will have our teeth set on edge by anyone named Clinton. For the Democrats a similar reaction is evoked by the name Bush.

So it seems to me that voters should consider, not just the normal priorities, but also whether they really want to elect someone their opponents are already unable to work with. I am quite sure some want to continue the gridlock. Some are so fixated on dominating policy and elections that they only believe they are winning when their opponents are demonized and demoralized. These individuals would be too blind to realize they could win the election, but lose the country.

Netanyahu and Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be addressing a joint session of congress this week. Most of the reactions to this event have been misguided, at least in my opinion. The president is worried about whether the invitation was meant to undermine his authority. The democrats are concerned whether sitting in on the speech will signal a rift in the party. The Israeli Press is concerned whether the move will further isolate Israel. The American Press is concerned about how it will affect future elections.

I believe the most important thing is being missed in most of the coverage. I see the same thing happen in other situations not nearly as heady as world politics. People forget who their friends are. After they stop behaving friendly toward these friends, they lose them and the benefits of their friendship. The final step is their world tilts out of balance, and they stand around scratching their heads wondering how it ever came to be so bad. But remember, it started out with them forgetting who their friends were.

What is happening with Israel and the US, is that some of our leaders have forgotten who our friends are. If we stay on the course we are on, we will soon see the world tilt out of balance. The resulting new world will likely result in nuclear proliferation, war in the Middle East, and the acceleration of terrorism.

But this scenario is different, in that Netanyahu is not blind to the outcomes. He is taking bold action to head off these probable results, or at least to try. Of course, like any friendship, he cannot do it alone.

Economic Recovery

President Obama spoke in the State of the Union as to the good news Americans seem to be overlooking. He lifted up the example of Rebekah Erler. He explains that she wrote him a letter speaking of their economic struggles and how they had to sacrifice to get ahead. Seemingly they were grateful to the policies of the current administration for creating a climate that allowed them to pull out of their difficulties.

What you might already know, and what was never mentioned in the speech, is that Rebekah worked as a campaigner for Democratic Washington Senator Patty Murray. Based on the timing it is likely that this is the job credited with pulling her out of the recession caused by her husband working in the housing industry.

When you know that part of the story it comes across very differently, doesn’t it? Her job, credited to the white house, was campaigning for the Democrats. In fact, this is the same family that he spent a day with back in 2014 to illustrate his compassion for struggling Americans.

The illustration is an example of some problems I believe I see in our president far too often. First he doesn’t care too much about the exact truth of a situation, but instead cares how he can make it appear in the press.

Second he focuses very closely on the moment, not remembering the past nor learning lessons from it. He expects the rest of America to forget as well, or else he would have at least picked a little more random of an example of economic recovery. After all he wants us to believe people moving up economically are easy to find, so he should have a lot of them to choose from.