President Obama, in order to secure the presidency, promised to engage in bipartisanship, abolish business as usual in Washington and the politics of corrupt special interests. In language, elegant, well metered and passionate our first black president urged Americans to embrace again our fellow citizens regardless of ethnicity. No longer would we be a fractured black, Hispanic, Asian and white America. We would be again and forever “The United States America.” We would be again one nation and one indivisible people, an American civilization weld from the blood and tears of our common struggle, failure and success, sins and virtue.
The President broke his promise, and betrayed those Americans who entrusted him with the presidency. He squandered American wealth to no effect other than to delay by years the possibility of economic recovery. He plunged the country into unquenchable debt. He centered his ascendance to power on the corrupt ambitions of special interests, corporate, union, ethnic and gay. These special interests contributed grandly to his campaign and were generously rewarded by largess taken from the American taxpayer and by preferential legislation.
In an election he promised would be “No holds barred” he singled out particular conservatives for condemnation, the conservative Russ Limbaugh for example, and warned Americans that if they should vote into power a Republican majority, he would engage them in ‘hand to hand combat” every day. In a speech to a Hispanic lobby he urged Hispanics to join with him to secure the political extinction of their common enemies—that is Americans who, in the free exercise of their vote, would deter his overweening ambition.
He characterized Americans he once claimed to revere and respect, as men and women addled by fear or by simple slowness of mind, who therefore were unable to grasp the elegance of a health care bill that is already collapsing of its own weight and constitutional corruption.
As the disaster unfolded to its inexorable and for Democrats disastrous conclusion, he would not step back an inch from the policies that have maimed his party and country or his contempt for Constitutional government not experienced seen since Woodrow Wilson, another Democrat, enacted the Sedition Act of 1918 abolishing free speech and ordering the criminal prosecution of over a thousand Americans for speaking in “disloyal, profane, scurrilous or abusive language about the United States government….”
Now suddenly, as day follows night, just as the cock crowed November 3, and the last votes were tallied, the President extended his hand to Republicans and began a new offensive reminiscent of a once untarnished presidential grace and power. Let us reason together; let us step away from the chasm that divides us, and commit ourselves again, just as I have in the past two years of my administration, to bipartisanship. Let us reach across the aisle and work together to reform America. But Americans, Mr. President, have by their vote condemned your redistributive vision. They will not play serfs to a social-democrat, European style government.
Senator Harry Reed went a step further. Standing in the smoking debris of what once was the Democrat party the Senator— who with the President spent the last two years excluding Republicans from the process of democracy—they won after all—, had the gall to say that the burden is now upon Republicans to embrace Democrats in a spirit of bipartisanship. I do not have the words to capture their audacity. For these words we must go to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Here is Marc Antony.
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honorable:
What private griefs they have, alas, I know not,
That made them do it: they are wise and honourable,
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts:
I am no orator, as Brutus is;,….
For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth,
Action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood: I only speak right on;
… but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
Robert Harkins’ new book will be published later this year. You may find it at Amazon in e-book or hard cover, and at all major bookstores. Its title:
My Country Tis of Thee
Sweet Land of Liberty.
Of Thee I Sing.