Back in October of 2009 I asked, Does Obama Know Who We Are?
Obama is an American President who is not particularly American in character or disposition. He seems not to really understand Americans, or their way, which is a way peculiar to the rest of the word, at once shallow and heroic, capable of great materialism and breathtaking self-sacrifice. [...] The American mind is a duality of sorts. A country founded by displaced nobles and built by the strongest and most resourceful commoners from around the globe, America’s can-do attitude is one that doesn’t mind looking out for the little guy, as long as his own share is a fair one, and his options are open. The American mind is constantly dreaming; even her most newly-arrived immigrants dream, because until very recently all dreams were pronounced “welcome,” and the greatest restrictions were the ones you put upon yourself, or allowed others to put upon you. The dreaming made us exceptional; the dreams made us indispensable.
But does Obama understand those dreams? If he does not, then in truth he does not understand the people he undertook to govern. He appears to have decided that “governing” could be accomplished with an endless campaign, meant to entertain a nation enthralled with hucksterism and side-shows; that notion betrays, in meaningful measure, a disdain for the people who placed their trust in him, with their vote.
If anyone doubted that Obama has no idea who Americans are, their doubt had to be dissolved this weekend, when he attempted to minimize the accomplishments of ordinary Americans by essentially claiming that any dreams we have dared to dream, and successes we have made of ourselves through toil, sweat and sacrifice, ought rightly be credited to the government.
I don’t think Obama understands that when he attacked Americans who take pride in their work and for whom “work” and “ambition” means something beyond the material — because it draws on itself from a place of personal dreaming and individual energy — he shot a most disrespectful and destructive arrow, and it hit a place in the American psyche wherein resides whole notions of identity and dignity. In a couple of sentences, he blithely devalued the whole “can-do, American” idea of working hard toward “something better”, something beyond the tax bills and essential utilities. Possibly he doesn’t understand it because he has never worked for a small business, has never drawn a paycheck from the private sector, and has always surrounded himself with those who disdain it, who think they know more about farming than the man who farms, more about establishing a business and creating jobs than the woman who has done it. Just before his “you didn’t build that”, remarks, post-American Obama paid lip-service to past-American dreaming, past-American can-doing by mentioning the moon — toward which we can no longer travel from our own launch pads — and Hoover Dam, an endeavor which this president (with a breathtaking lack of irony or self-awareness) and his environmentalist stormtroopers would never allow to be undertaken.
Whether he intended to or not, what Obama did last weekend was look at the American people and sneer, “you’re nothing. You’ve built nothing, accomplished nothing, invented nothing, cured nothing, solved nothing, fixed nothing, except as the government has permitted.”
The president who thinks Americans are nothing wants them to re-elect him, so he can continue to tell them to put their rights and their dreams away, because the government has dreams enough; to stop thinking there is anything “special” about themselves because it’s the government that is “special”. He is telling Americans to quit believing that anything resides within them that has not been put there by the government, that there is anything they can actually do, that the government will not do better.
The message from Obama has always been the suppressive message of Homer Hickam’s grim, utilitarian, hope-deficient father, in October Skies. It is a dreary one that says “stop dreaming, stop imagining, stop thinking about the future, because the future is not yours to define”.
Yeah. Just get down there in the mines, and do your job. Don’t look at the expanse of sky and think it holds a tantalizing promise of infinite possibility. Because infinite possibilities are impossible in this place. Don’t hold out for your own ideas, because they mean nothing, here.
Homer Hickam dared to disagree, and dared to disobey, and dared to dream.
Because that’s at the heart of who Americans are.
That’s who Americans are, Mr. Obama. Now you know.
And now, we know who you are, too, because even with all the hiding behind teleprompters and with the help of a resolutely incurious press, even with the withholding of school records and detailed medical reports, your narcissism can’t resist self-revelation; your inflated ego demands that you demonstrate your disdain.
Back in 2009 I wrote:
The Office of the Presidency can either make a man great, or break him, but it will not allow him to coast and remain undefined.
But a lack of definition is what Obama has cultivated throughout adult life. From what little we know of his college days to his Inaugural speech, others have defined Obama for him, going mostly by what they saw – which was usually a reflection of themselves. [In] theforced definition of the American Presidency … there is nowhere to hide; there are no further personae to be invented and presented.
Peek-a-boo, Mr. President. We see you.
Even Homer Hickam’s father, though, eventually came around. I don’t think Obama has that sort of generosity in him, because it is a generosity rooted in love.