Selwyn Duke
Do not blame Barack
By Selwyn Duke
October 6, 2009

Contrary to what my title indicates, I probably judge Barack Obama more harshly than most reading this page. I don't think he is just a misguided ideologue or merely a creature of expediency. I believe, practically speaking, that he is an evil man. That is to say, while he is largely ignorant like so many others, he has developed an affinity for evil. He mistakes it for good.

Yet, to be blunt, Obama doesn't alarm me as much as the average American. To explain why, I'll present something Roman philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero said 2000 years ago when lamenting Julius Caesar's rise to dictator:

    Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions . . . . Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the 'new, wonderful good society' which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean 'more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.' Julius was always an ambitious villain, but he is only one man.

Barack Obama is only one man. A bad man, yes, but he is a symptom more than a cause. Without millions of fawning Americans, he would just be a community agitator, vainly preaching Alinsky principles from a soapbox. Of course, he is a symptom that exacerbates the underlying problem, and symptomatic treatment — to ease immediate pain and hardship — is certainly in order. But it is only the worst of physicians who focuses only on symptoms while ignoring the cancer eating away at the patient's midst.

Some of us lament the presence of self-professed communists such as Van Jones — and other assorted intellectual mutants, such as Cass Sunstein and John Holdren — in government, and how we elected a man who broke bread with self-professed communists such as Bill Ayers. But why complain now? We've had self-professed communists such as Bill Ayers — and other assorted intellectual mutants, such as Ward Churchill, Cass Sunstein and John Holdren — in academia for many decades. And good Americans still donated money to universities and still sent their most precious possessions, their children, to them. So, should it be any surprise that millions of these children would, knowing nothing and feeling all the wrongs things, flock to the polls and cast votes for people just like their teachers and professors? You may say that their parents knew nothing of these universities' true nature. But it was their place to find out. And Obama did not create the modern academy. He is more a creation of it.

We also criticize Obama for saying "We no longer are [just] a Christian nation" and while speaking in Turkey that "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation." But can we really say he's wrong? Has Christmas not become completely commercialized? How many of us say grace with our families before meals? How many of us pray every day? How many Americans subscribe to the modern perversion of the "separation of church and state" idea? How many of us say "God Bless" upon parting? Have the majority of American "Christians" not descended into moral relativism? It is here that some will call me a religious nut. All right, but I simply note that a Christian nation would actually practice Christianity and that if we are satisfied to be only nominally Christian, it lends weight to the argument that we're not actually Christian. Of course, we certainly can condemn Obama for attending a pseudo-Christian church and being part of the problem, but he didn't create our secular age. He is more a creation of it.

One thing Obama certainly did help create is the tea-party phenomenon. It is the largest, most impressive grassroots movement I can remember and I truly hope it grows beyond what even the most zealous reader would prefer. Yet, when I hear the protesters complain about the violation of the Constitution, I have to wonder we they've been. Did they miss the activist 1947 "separation of church and state ruling"? Have they learned about FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society? Don't they realize that the federal government long ago exceeded its constitutional bounds? Where is the constitutional mandate for Uncle Scam to involve itself in and/or fund housing, food stamps, farm subsidies, Medicaid, global-warming research, mass transit, and school sports programs? The fact is that most things the federal government has its claws into are none of its affair. Thus, to only now complain about constitutional trespasses is like having finally noted the invasion of Poland when the Nazis started bombing Great Britain.

We also have to ask how serious most Americans really are about respecting the Constitution. Here's a little test for them: Are you willing to give up your Social Security in the name of constitutional adherence?

I thought so.

The average American has his version of acceptable constitutional violation, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg has hers, and Obama has his. And Obama didn't create the "living document" mentality. He is more a creation of it.

Then there is our putrid popular culture. Effete Hollywood types — such as the Obama sycophants in this bizarre Harpo Productions video — thuggish rappers, MTV stoner types and the rest of our decadence czars helped galvanize the youth and propel the empty vessel to victory. Yet, while entertainment is a bastion of the left, it's not entirely a creation of it. The reality is that we, the people, empowered them. We watched their movies; laughed at their salacious jokes; were titillated by their prurience; and tolerated their mainstreaming obscenity, homosexuality and gratuitous violence. We allowed our children to dress in their ghetto styles and imbibe pure and utter filth. Like with so many other things, we helped create our entertainment — a major symptom of spiritual malaise — and then it helped induce many secondary symptoms. And one of them is Obama.

Of course, nothing is more associated with that symptom than the Shill Media, but I think you know what's coming. Who bought the mainstream papers for all those decades, watched the nightly news and bought all the lies? "How could people know?" you ask? Well, some certainly knew — and some of those knew better than others.

Like Cicero, I'm sure I sound quite condemnatory, but I'm not here to lay a curse or consign anyone to Hell. I don't want to be found guilty of the George Bernard Shaw mistake G.K. Chesterton criticized most colorfully when he wrote:

    It is not seeing things as they are to think first of a Briareus with a hundred hands, and then call every man a cripple for only having two. It is not seeing things as they are to start with a vision of Argus with his hundred eyes, and then jeer at every man with two eyes as if he had only one. And it is not seeing things as they are to imagine a demigod of infinite mental clarity, who may or may not appear in the latter days of the earth, and then to see all men as idiots.

In reality, for us to have avoided that ever-repeated pattern of civilizational decline, the common man would have to be a very uncommon man, something, in the least, like a sublime moral philosopher. And, certainly, no person will have, metaphorically speaking, a hundred industrious hands, a hundred all-seeing eyes or even come close to enjoying demigod-like mental clarity. Yet a nation doesn't have to resign itself to being blind and crippled, either. We can usually manage one more hand and eye.

Truth be known, when we elected Obama, the nation said "Look, ma, no hands!" with its eyes closed. It required corrupted judgment to be blind to what Obama was. Note that "corrupted" is different than "corrupt." When saying a computer file is corrupted, there is no implication that it's evil; rather, it simply means it no longer functions as it should.

This partially explains why facts often don't matter today. Just as correct input may not yield correct output if fed into a malfunctioning computer, all the necessary facts may not yield a correct conclusion when processed by a corrupted mind. And anyone with a properly functioning virtue file would have sensed the lack of same in Obama. After all, there were so many indications, from his radical associations to his tolerance for infanticide (that's what you call a clue) to the fact that he once allowed his then two-year-old daughter to listen to rap to his empty sloganeering. Yes, we could've . . . known.

Yet my point here is not about the average person, who isn't reading substantive commentary anyway. It's that even most of us who oppose Obama and are political are just political, content to fight the battle with one hand and one eye. So many of us — this includes readers and commentators — are satisfied with boilerplate; it's Alinsky this and Alinsky that, San Fran Nan, Afghanistan and the Taliban, this bill and that political shill. This isn't to say there's not a place for such things, as many do need a course in politics 101. But if we want to have any chance of winning the war, we must move on to graduate work and fight it on the deepest levels, the spiritual and cultural. We must scrutinize ourselves and evaluate how we have been complicit in empowering the culture that spawns Barack Obamas. We must remember that those of us who are engaged are a minority weighed against an apathetic majority. A few stones however, can be substantial enough to tip the scales against a million pebbles. But this can only happen if we so greatly increase the weight of our virtue that it outweighs the vice that is everywhere.

I once heard a man of the cloth put it perfectly, saying "Everyone is in a different stage of conversion." Every thought we contemplate, word we utter and action we take move us closer to or further away from perfection. And it's always time for another hand and another eye.

© Selwyn Duke


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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