Strength in Diversity, not Division
by Susan Stamper Brown
Surreal Setting…Sunny skies… Frigid late January temperatures… The National Mall covered by a euphoric blanket of humanity…Left hand on the Historic Lincoln Bible and right hand raised… A promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution… An electric speech by the 44th American president: “…Because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass…” A new era ushered in… Hope for change to come…
Fast forward to last week when the leader of the free world addressed Latino voters on Univision radio vociferously declaring war against the enemy. Barack Obama promised to “punish our enemies…” Taken out of context from the rest of his speech, one might think a newly formed backbone raised Obama from his bowing stance to become the Commander-in-Chief necessary to defend our nation against enemies like al-Qaida or the Taliban.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. Obama was speaking to Latinos about immigration reform and he defined the “enemy” as any American citizen that supports stronger border security and strict immigration laws.
Attempting to raise the Latino voter enthusiasm gap while in Los Angeles this week, Obama also promised his cabinet was working on immigration legislation but couldn’t get it done because, “I am not king” and blamed Republicans for holding up progress.
Latinos are smart and can read through the teleprompted rhetoric to understand that the Democratic Party had both the power and opportunity to pass the promised legislation – but did not. Democrats throw out the same old bait every election cycle when they are fishing for Latino votes.
The million dollar question here is how we got from: “we cannot help but believe the old hatreds shall someday pass” spiel to “punish those who disagree with thee” verbiage in less than two years? What went wrong to turn a self-avowed unifier into Divider-in-Chief? I know it’s tempting, but it would be a stretch to blame it on Bush.
If Obama is the Christian he claims to be, is he not commanded to love -not punish- his enemies? Regardless of religious affiliation, once sworn in, a president becomes the president to all citizens. The Constitution does not offer presidential privilege to cherry-pick friends and enemies based upon ideology. That type of behavior is more at home in a Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, Hussein’s Iraq, Ahmadinejad’s Iran or Castro’s Cuba.
While this is currently Obama’s America, Obama’s presidency will eventually fail because America’s founding was based upon unity and equality. The Declaration of Independence reminds us that America’s strength is found in our diversity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator [not the government] with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Obama’s campaign theme of hope and change was prophetic. America changed with record high unemployment, government takeovers of private business and healthcare, failed Stimulus bills, steroidal federal government growth, and out-of-control debt. And yet, America still has hope that things will get better – we’ve weathered similar storms. Although our current president seems bent on dividing us ideologically between “friends” and “enemies,” our forefathers knew America’s strength would be in her unity when they told us to “mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”