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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Saturday, January 14, 2017
5 Founding Father STANDARDS Obama BOTCHED
Comparing 2 presidents' Farewell Addresses
President Barack Obama’s Farewell Address received many critiques (including that it “was longer than the goodbye speeches of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined”); but was his address good? To answer that question, it needs to be measured against a fixed standard, which is the Farewell Address of George Washington – considered the most significant political speech delivered by any president. For decades, students took an annual written test on that address, and subsequent presidents recommended it to Americans in their generation. Even President Obama cited from it during his own address.
Consider five standards Washington erected in his Farewell Address that can be used to measure the Obama presidency as he now leaves office.
1. Promote Unity. George Washington acknowledged that even though we had “shades of differences” in “religion, manners, habits, and political principles,” it was most important that “The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” Being Americans is the key to unity.
But Obama’s Farewell Address was just the opposite. He heavily invoked identity politics, giving shout-outs to one group after another – the “transgender American,” the “white American,” LGBT, black, brown, the refugee, Muslims, the poor, women and the immigrant. Of course, there was no mention of Christians or Jews, those who support natural marriage and traditional sexuality, and so forth. He set one group against another – some were his Americans but others certainly were not. No longer is America described by the Great Seal’s phrase of E Pluribus Unum (out of many, we have become one), but instead it is now E Unum Pluribus (out of one, we have become many). Jesus warned that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
2. Avoid Foreign Entanglements. George Washington: “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is … to have with them as little political connection as possible. … Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why – by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe – entangle our peace and prosperity in [theirs?] … Observe good faith and justice towards all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”
Yet the Obama administration directly intruded itself into the affairs of Libya, Egypt, Syria and other nations, working to depose their leaders and creating the so-called Arab Spring, which facilitated the rise of ISIS and the massive genocide of Christians across the Middle East. And there were the massive cash payments to Iran (the world’s biggest sponsor of global terrorism), rewarding Cuba for its oppression, and withholding State Department funds from Kenya and other African nations until they adopted abortion and homosexual marriage. And most recently, there was his orchestration of the U.N.’s condemnation of Israel. This is not “cultivating peace and harmony with all.”
3. Preserve Constitutional Separation of Powers. George Washington: “Those entrusted with [the government’s] administration [must] confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres. … The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create … a real despotism.”
President Obama refused to stay in his “respective constitutional sphere,” announcing instead that he “had a pen and a phone.” His executive orders had the effect of sweeping and far-reaching congressional legislation, and he ordered executive agencies to write regulations that became the law of the land on everything from climate to immigration, energy to religious liberties, transgender bathrooms to business operations. As a consequence, in 2012, only 127 laws were passed through Congress, but more than 3,700 federal regulations were made law by the president’s Executive Branch.
4. Encourage Religion and Morality. George Washington: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars. … The mere politician equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them.”
The Obama administration has been documented as being the most biblically hostile in American history. No other president has fueled so many direct attacks on public religious expressions and biblical morality.
5. Avoid Debt and Spending. George Washington: “As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense … avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt … not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”
The nation’s debt under the Obama administration has grown to $20 trillion – an increase of 87 percent in just eight years. Each citizen must now pay $206,000 just to retire the debt, not including the amount each citizen will also pay annually to cover the normal operating expenses of the federal government. Posterity must now bear that ungenerous burden.
When one uses the gold standard of George Washington’s Farewell Address, it can be concluded that (repeating what God said 2,500 years ago to another governmental leader) the Obama administration has “been weighed in the balances and found wanting” (Daniel 5:27)