President Obama was lauded for his oratory skills when he first came on the national political scene. He impressed the nation when the then Democrat Senator from Illinois delivered the keynote speech on July 27, 2004 at the Democrat Convention, the event at which then Senator John Kerry was formally chosen as the party’s choice for the 2004 presidential ticket. In his speech, Mr. Obama referenced the “spin masters and negative ad peddlers” who he described as “trying to divide the country”. “Well, I say to them tonight”, he stated “there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.” Flash forward to 2015 and those words ring hollow for we now have a nation that appears more divided than ever
On the political party front, the philosophical divide between Republicans and Democrats has widened as we see the Democrat party moving further and further left. There is a slouching towards socialism which is evidenced in President Obama’s past speeches about “a new vision of an America in which prosperity is shared”, not earned. This socialist philosophy is further demonstrated in the 2016 Democrat presidential candidates including front-runner former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Saul Alinsky protégée and Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont who is a “self-described socialist”.
As far as race relations goes, they appear to have significantly atrophied under the leadership of America’s first Black president. In July 2015, a New York Times/CBS News poll revealed that only 37% of all Americans describe race relations as generally good versus 66% during the first few months of Barack Obama’s presidency. Many believe that the President has widened the racial divide by injecting himself personally into racially charged incidents such as the August 2014 Ferguson Missouri incident where a white police officer fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown after Brown strong-armed a convenience store clerk. The Ferguson incident, where the police officer was later found to have acted in self-defense , lit the flame for a series of racially polarizing incidents over the past 15 months.
During the past few months, we have seen the rise of the group Black Lives Matter which describes itself as an “a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society”. The group has been in the headlines for protesting and causing disruption at political rallies for candidates from both the right and left. Most recently, they have shown up in full force on college campuses. Within the last weeks, there have been a plethora of campus incidents including the group’s blocking access to reporters on the University of Missouri campus.
President Obama has further divided the nation with his strategy for our nation’s war against terrorism and violent extremism. On November 13, Paris was the site of six terrorist incidents which took the lives of 130 people including one American and resulted in the injuries of over 352 individuals. ISIS claimed responsibility for the horrific attacks. The day before the attacks, during an interview with ABC News, President Obama had described ISIS as “contained”. In the aftermath of the attacks, President Obama pledged the US’s support to France but continued his strategy of refusing to label the incident as an act of radical Islamic terrorism. Two days later President Obama downplayed the severity of the attack by describing it as “a setback” in the war against ISIS. A setback? Tell that to the families of the victims.
President Obama has created more internal division with his immigration policy including his plans to increase the number of Syrian refugees which the United States receives annually. The United States currently receives about 1500 refugees. There are plans to increase that number to 10,000. There is a perception that the intent is for that number to eventually increase to as high as 250,000. Following the Paris attacks, we learned that several of the attackers had exploited Europe’s open borders and the current refugee crisis to obtain forged passports. One would think that President Obama would make a public announcement that the United States is going to carefully revisit our plans to take in refugees. He didn’t.
At a summit in the Philippines, Mr. Obama told reporters that the “overwhelming numbers” of Syrians who are applying for entry to the U.S. “are children, women, families — themselves victims of terrorism.” He said they are already subject to rigorous vetting by U.S. security officials.
The House disagrees and has passed a bill 289-137 to impose a stricter vetting policy for the admission of refugees from Syria and Iraq. The bill will go to the Senate after Thanksgiving. President Obama has threatened to veto it. Furthermore, while in Manila, President Obama added insult to injury by openly criticizing the GOP presidential candidates. “Apparently, they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” the president said. “At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.” This is hardly the way a president should speak about his country while on foreign soil.
Yes, our country is no longer the “United States” which Senator Obama spoke of in his 2004 DNC speech. Whoever would have thought that this division would have happened under the leadership of the man who campaigned on the concept of uniting the country? It is up to us as patriots to narrow the gap and bring our country back together again. And that starts with a new resident in The White House in 2017.