Hope for change is not in president
Iwas a little surprised when my African-American friend's Facebook status read:
"As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day and the second inauguration of our president, I am proud that America has elected a black president. However, I still dream of the day when I will be proud of the black president we elected."
The delight he feels in the progress is offset by disappointment. Hope for better leadership from the current administration has been dashed by politics as usual. And many African-Americans like my friend find it particularly troubling to hear relentless blame shifting that paints the president as a victim of Bush and of a "do-nothing-Congress." Unfortunately, the president has repeatedly contributed to Washington's gridlock.
Many times I find myself wishing that I could take the president at his word. He often presents himself as a likable man. He's a gifted orator. I truly sympathize with the monumental task of being president. Anyone in such a position will be harshly and unjustly criticized. I regularly pray for the president and his family.
Yet it saddens me to agree with those who warn that Obama is a smooth talker who uses words to deceive people. His words about togetherness flowed like honey in his second inaugural address. Who wouldn't feel moved by such a speech in times like these? The difficulty, however, is his record.
President Obama is a passionate and divisive partisan ideologue. He is defiantly driven by an agenda to bring America under a liberal view of big government. "In the weeks after his re-election, Obama displayed enormous and impressive energy as he moved to break the Republican Party,'' Matthew Continetti noted on The Washington Free Beacon on Jan. 18. "He pressed the GOP on every front, including tax increases, the debt ceiling, gun control, an immigration plan that includes amnesty for illegal migrants, and nominating for secretary of defense a Republican dove who, unlike every other prospective cabinet member, is eager to whittle down his department.''
All politicians are guilty of partisanship but Obama relentlessly promotes himself as a unifying leader. He wants us to view him as a leader who cares about what the people want. Yet he aggressively imposes his social agenda on the country while being unmoved by the fact that almost half of the voters cast their vote against him.
The president's partisanship and determination to socially restructure America flowed like an outline in his second inaugural. At times his language was coded in ways that some would miss, but I agree with columnist Charles Krauthammer, who described the address as "an ode to big government." He noted this was Obama's moment for declaring his intention on expanding liberalism's agenda for climate change, gun control, immigration, and gay rights. "[Obama] outlined the liberal agenda, the big government agenda in the future," Krauthammer said.
Don't miss how he contrasted America's original dream of "all men are created equal" with "the privileges of a few." After admirable words about working together, he turned to his economic agenda in saying, "our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it."
The misguided part is that Obama is interested in a version of equality based in notions of redistribution -- a philosophy that is taking us into financial ruin.
But before being too hard on the president for being a big-government champion of the welfare state, all blame cannot be laid on him. The American people have increasingly and naively looked to the federal government as their big daddy.
Our future will be determined not so much by a single president as by the choices of an electorate. Will we vote for freedom or continue to hand freedoms over to government?
Do we really want a welfare state? Let's vote for politicians who will stop using our money to make them appear compassionate toward the needy.
Let us remember that the only way government gives you anything is by taking it from taxpayers. It might help to try changing the way you talk about government. Each time you say, "The government should pay for," instead say, "You and I should pay for." Perhaps this will lead us back into reality.
Steven W. Cornell is senior pastor at Millersville Bible Church. He is also a correspondent for Lancaster Newspapers Inc. Email him at email@example.com.