Why I'm Grateful for Obama

This summer there was an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled "Boomers to This Year's Grads: We Are Really, Really Sorry." Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, 60, tells the graduating class at Butler University that boomers have been "self-absorbed, self-indulgent and all too often just plain selfish." The purpose of the article was to demonstrate how baby boomers’ financial choices have hurt the economy, which is all well and good -- and certainly appropriate for a college graduation. But the real legacy of the boomer generation is its impact on American culture.


Neil Howe, an author and historian highlighted in the article, identifies the source of the problem. He writes that the social movements of the 1960s "caved in on itself" as boomers focused more on "their own inner voyage" and less on their obligation to society. Dinesh D’Douza makes the same observation in his book Letter to a Young Conservative. “Before the sixties, most Americans believed in a universal moral order that is external to us, that makes demands on us. Our obligation was to conform to that moral order and its commandments: work hard and try to better yourself, be faithful to your spouse, go when your country calls, and so on. But beginning in the sixties, several factions attacked that moral consensus as narrow and oppressive. They fought for a new ethic that would be based not on external authority but on the sovereignty of the inner self." Indeed, this myopic focus on the self, at society’s expense, is still with us today -- and we have baby boomers to thank for it.


Attempting to eradicate the universal moral order to which most Americans subscribed was not difficult to do. As John Malkovich’s character – he plays a reverend -- says in The Changeling, “Once you give people the freedom to do whatever they want as the Lord found them in the garden of Eden, they will do exactly that.” This is precisely what has happened in America since the 1960s. Before that time, freedom in America meant freedom from – tyranny, religion, oppressors, and so forth. But the counterculture of the 1960s introduced a new kind of freedom -- freedom to do as one pleases. That’s an entirely different kind of freedom than our Founding Fathers intended – and ever since Americans got a taste of it, they haven’t been able to resist.


Before the boomers came along to change the definition of freedom, America was a relatively unified nation. There were Democrats and Republicans, to be sure; but they were more alike than different. They disagreed about public policy, but they agreed on right and wrong. They agreed on familial duty and societal responsibility. They agreed on national defense and the military. This is no longer the case. Today we have a full-fledged culture war: on one side are modern liberals – who place the individual, especially his rights, at the center of society -- and on the other side are, to borrow Ann Coulter’s phrase from her piece in July on Sarah Palin, “normal people.”


Normal people represent most of America. Whether they refer to themselves as “conservative,” – as 41% of Americans do – or “moderate” -- as 34% of Americans do – they’re normal because their views represent an accurate understanding of human nature. It’s natural to think of personal responsibility toward others; it’s natural to think in terms of right and wrong; it’s natural to believe there’s something or someone greater than ourselves governing the universe. That 75% of Americans do not identify with modern liberalism proves how natural it is to think right-of-center. It just isn’t normal not to believe in right and wrong. And a good portion of the 21% of self-described liberals in this country knows this; they simply go along with their friends because it’s the “thing to do.” In addition to their steadfast belief in moral relativity, liberals also think everyone is the same at heart. When it comes right down to it, says the left, there are no real differences between people -- only misunderstandings.


The twenty-one percent of liberals in America are simply leftovers from the 1960s era. They either hailed from this generation (think Pelosi), or they were raised by parents who hailed from this generation. (Think Obama.) Either way, they’re of one mind -- and they are the reason for every social ill that exists today. They are the reason partial-birth abortion is not considered a travesty by 100% of the population; they are the reason parenting has changed dramatically – and for the worse; they are the reason divorce and single motherhood are touted as good things; they are the reason public schools are a disgrace; and they are the reason sex education has become a license for kids to have casual sex. Indeed, the result of Americans taking their focus off society and onto the self is mind-numbingly far-reaching.


Fortunately, the majority of Americans still believe in the real definition of freedom. Everyday folks between California and New York are busy taking responsibility for their lives and the people in them. People do tend to mature as they age – and consequently think less of themselves and more about society as a whole. Unfortunately, 21% of Americans have yet to grow up (as the jacket cover to Reb Bradley’s Born Liberal, Raised Right, says, “The future of America is threatened by adults stuck in their terrible twos”); and many of them have the microphone. They can be found in the White House, Hollywood, college campuses, and the media. Indeed, their voices are so loud they drown out the masses, resulting in capitulation. Normal people feel defeated, and thus remain silent.


Fortunately, there’s a new optimism underway – which is why I’m grateful for Obama’s presidency. I think he’s precisely what America needed. By having Obama in office, Americans get a glimpse of what liberal politics looks like – and we needed that. I don’t think most Americans, before the election, truly understood the difference between conservatism and liberalism. I don’t think normal people ever fathomed – they’re too damn normal to fathom it -- that there are people in the world who think like Obama and his cronies in Congress. Less than a year ago Smart Girl Politics, a grassroots organization dedicated to “engaging, educating, and empowering conservative women” was a fledgling website with less than 1,000 members; now there are 11,000 members. Less than a year ago people loved the idea of Obama; now they’re scratching their heads. Less than a year ago people didn’t believe an innocent young woman could proclaim her belief in traditional marriage and be pilloried by the media as a result; now they do. Less than a year ago normal people didn’t believe Democrats could think it’s okay to take people’s money away from them and give it to other people; now they do. I firmly believe, now that normal people have witnessed what modern liberalism looks like, that America will reunite. As Winston Churchill once said, "We can always count on Americans to do the right thing...after they've exhausted all other possibilities."


TOMORROW: What Being "Open-Minded" Really Means

1 Response to “Why I'm Grateful for Obama”: