As the days dwindle toward a peaceful transition of power, the Left makes a last-ditch effort to flatter the ego of a man who needs no assistance in the act of self-aggrandizement. The Obama administration is riddled with scandal, broken promises, and targeted division. Yet, the Left has diminished the reality of President Barack Obama’s damages to a mere figment of the conservative imagination.
Before Obama’s last presidential address, POLITICO Magazine ran a story on the suspected content of the President’s speech. Below is an excerpt from the story:
When Barack Obama takes to the lectern to deliver his farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday, he’ll likely have a few things to say about a political climate that has grown viciously polarized over the past 8 years and culminated in a bruising, insult-driven campaign in 2016. If he does call out the destructive effects of hyper-partisanship on our democracy, he will be following in the footsteps of the first farewell address, by George Washington, printed in the American Daily Advertiser on September 19, 1796.
President Obama has compared himself to monumental and transformative presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and George Washington. However, every one of his actions was a surrounded by congressional or public criticism of his extra-presidential actions: freeing terrorists and raising the debt ceiling. The similarities between Obama and Lincoln are superficial, but this did not stop Obama from invoking Lincoln’s legacy to pad his own. Fortunately, he did refrain from doing so during his Tuesday address.
POLITICO dares to compare Obama’s farewell address to Washington’s farewell address. But there are fundamental differences between the two men.
Obama aimed Tuesday to identify the deep, political rift in the country without taking an ounce of responsibility for it. Washington, on the other hand, was well aware of the frailty and division that came with a revolution. Rather than exploiting it in order to clothe himself in authority, Washington utilized that which would unite a ravaged people. Before accepting the consideration to service as president, he implored his countrymen the following:
…[L]et me conjure you, in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost horror and detestation of the man who wishes, under any specious pretenses, to overturn the liberties of our country, and who wickedly attempts to open the floodgates of civil discord…
Obama belittled his fellow statesmen. He targeted his critics and demeaned a society that put honest hope in his leadership. Obama’s administration has proven its hyper-partisanship by refusing to make compromises, legitimizing false narratives, and overriding the will of people he falsely claimed serve with his executive orders.
The obsessive dance with the word “democracy,” which was used twenty times in President Obama’s address, is diametrically opposed to the vision the founding father designed for the United States.
In Washington’s farewell address, he states, “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence … the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial…”
Washington was not speaking of a political party. The United States is Constructional Republic, in which officials may govern their citizens by a constitution that limits those officials.
Now, in 2017, after an eight-year presidency that promised to bridge our divides but confronted the political reality of polarization and the election of a successor whose victory has highlighted the deep divisions in America, Washington’s vision for vigorous citizens checking the rise of extreme partisanship is striking in its relevance. We need to heed Washington’s warning.
Obama did not ‘confront’ political polarization; he inflamed it. Donald Trump’s election amplified Obama’s history of divisive policies rather than his own unconventional rhetoric.
The moral of this is for Americans to remain impartial when analyzing presidents and heed George Washington’s literal warning:
But if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good–that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit,… guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.