Greek mythology tells the story of a greedy (and clearly not so bright) King Midas who was once granted a wish by the Silenus, companion of the god Dionysus.
The wish? That everything he touched turned to gold.
And, as the story goes, the fool nearly starved to death because indeed everything he touched turned to gold—including his food.
Ironically (despite the negative consequences of Midas’ wish), today the expression “Midas touch” is a positive one, describing someone who has a knack for making something successful in a positive sense.
I thought about the self-seeking King Midas as President Obama (despite his political legacy having been thoroughly rejected by voters in November) spoke for nearly an hour in his farewell speech, which was longer than the “combined length of the three two-term presidents who preceded him.”
But even more than that, I had King Midas’ touch in mind as I considered the impact that just one person can have.
For many people, Barack Obama is a legend—though largely because he rammed and shoved and coerced things through that they happened to like.
In reality, he’s set dangerous precedents and wreaked perhaps irreparable damage on the office, on this republic, and on our people as a whole.
Let’s take a gander:
1.We are weaker in the eyes of our enemies.
Much like the Iranians felt emboldened by the comparatively weak and acquiescent Carter administration when they held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, today’s global bullies show similar fearlessness. From the Iranian aggression against U.S. ships in international waters, to their baseless holding and humiliation of our sailors; from Russian jets buzzing (on multiple occasions) U.S. military ships, to China’s capturing an underwater U.S. drone, as well as vastly expanding its network of spies and asserting military presence in the South China Sea—the world feels the slack in U.S. strength.
What’s more, our Commander in Chief endangered every one of us by ignoring the most fundamental element of defeating one’s enemy: identifying it. Instead, he has downplayed Islam’s central role in Islamic terror (claiming instead that they’re just “violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam”) and barely gave it a passing nod in his farewell address. As writer Bill Whalen put it:
“Not until nearly midway into his remarks did the only president to serve an entire two terms with a nation at war delve into terrorism. Not that it was much a deep dive. The former constitutional law professor rolled ISIS into a big ball of human rights, women’s right and LBGT rights – and from there, naturally, protecting voting rights and a closing passage in which Obama called for his countrymen to become a nation of community organizers.”
Adding insult to injury, we’ve snubbed our allies and actively endangered them, too. One of President Obama’s first orders of business as he set up shop in the Oval Office was to return the bust of Winston Churchill to Great Britain, and one of his last was to slap our ally Israel in the face by “orchestrating the anti-settlement resolution passed by the UN Security Council last month,” which once again puts the only democracy in the Middle East in increased danger by validating the position of their violent enemies.
2. He used his office to divide our nation by race, gender, political party, religion.
A recent Gallup poll shows that a record high number of Americans feel that this country is more divided than ever.
Why? Because this president has used his office and his influence to inject himself into nearly every racial and societal upheaval in the last eight years. Instead of letting the Constitution do its job in limiting government and protecting the God-given rights of each man, woman and child—you know, the basics: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness—Barack Obama felt it was his responsibility to interpret new “rights,” and use his pen and his phone to enact his will no matter who and what it trampled.
He’s also treated his political counterparts as enemies. While he spoke glowingly of politics as “battle of ideas” in his farewell address, and that we should all be willing to “admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point,” I remember when he told Republicans that we could “come along for the ride,” but that we’d have to “sit in back.”
3. He routinely abused his presidential power and severely damaged states’ rights.
In his farewell address, several times he quoted our Founders and spoke of the importance of our Founding Documents—all the while his legacy shreds them. From things like his recess appointments to his rewriting of the Affordable Care Act from the Oval office; from deferring deportation of illegal aliens through DAPA to suing the state of Arizona for enforcing federal immigration law, Barack Obama proved time and again he never cared about the Founders or what they had to say about limits on federal power.
4. He put American citizens in greater danger by besmirching our police and refusing to quell (and in fact often participating in) race-baiting at every opportunity.
A brand new study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that 75% of officers say “they are hesitant to use force, even when appropriate, and are less willing to stop and question suspicious people” thanks to the “Ferguson Effect,” a societal phenomenon rooted in the officer involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. A majority of officers say “interactions between police and blacks have become more tense,” and a whopping 93% of officers report that they’re much more concerned about their own safety as compared to years past. So do the math: fewer criminals are stopped, and less good people are likely to enter the police force. Yeah, sounds safe.
“But he’s done; he’s leaving!” some might say, “Why dredge up old news?”
Well, for starters, because he’s not leaving. Unlike his predecessors who usually leave the capital city and (usually) gracefully settle into the annals of history, he’s sticking around Washington D.C. (Yes, yes, I know he’s still got a kid in school.) Politically, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. As the aforementioned Bill Whalen put it, his farewell speech “wasn’t so much ‘farewell’ as ‘to be continued’.”
Perhaps even more important than Barack Obama’s continued influence on the country, however, is realizing that Barack Obama’s impact on the office—his “anti -Midas touch” if you will—impacts future presidencies in perpetuity.
As I once told a liberal friend, “Be careful what you applaud in this president; you might regret it in the next guy.”
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show (TheBlaze Radio Network, Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. ET). She can be reached at: email@example.com; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
8 thoughts on “A Residency in Review – 4 Ways Barack Obama Disgraced the Presidency (And Endangered Us All)”
Excellent post – as usual. I recently brought my general feeling of malaise towards Obama to a head, and I believe, put a finer point on what, precisely, has bothered me so about his entire presidency. Barack Obama grew up steeped in anger, resentment and hatred towards those whom he fervantly believe are his oppressors. While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man, eloquent speaker and a visionary who had the correct message and response for his time, Barack Obama took office in 2008, speaking as if 50 years of progress had not take place, as if it were 1969, and he, himself needed to lead us out of his imagined bigotry that he painted us with. He re-lit the flames of righteous indignation amongst young people whose only knowledge of the Civil Rights movement came from Hollywood versons of it, completely devoid of context. He ignored the progress that we, of all races, and creeds have made over the past 50 years, and declared “White America” the enemy. Unlike Dr. King, who called for racial equality, and for a man to be judged not by the color of his skin, but for the content of his character – Obama called, not for equality, but for revenge, for restitution, for payback – and clearly, as demonstrated by his overwhelming support and validation for a hate-filled and senseless organization as “Black Lives Matter”, content of character was utterly off the table. Obama’s legacy is a sad and deluded one, and one, which, gratefully, is coming to an end.
This is such a great point of view on this topic.
I truly can’t believe how delusional and blind you are, especially when it comes to Obama. It’s like you see a photo negative of reality. To have so much hate for such a dignified, moderate, classy, well-intentioned man who served his country with such grace and optimism in the face of unbridled obstructionism and lies. It’s a sad revealing of your perspective on life. You are blinded to anything that doesn’t conform to hammered-in, rote talking points and hardened, Hannity-type falsified but constantly repeated narratives. One day you’ll realize you have lost all ability to decide anything for yourself. You even failed the last test of real thought and independence. You caved and supported Donald Trump, an embarrassment to the human race and an incredible danger to the country you love and, indeed, the whole world. If you chose him, it’s absolutely clear that it doesn’t matter at all who is actually running for office. All that matters is the letter by their name. If you didn’t use your mind to see that this time party should not be the prime concern, you never will. And you soothe yourself by snipin at Obama on the way out and trying to convince yourself that he was a “disgrace.” Get ready to see true disgrace, front-and-center and oozing all over our lives for at least the next four years. Well over half the country doesn’t deserve this, but one consolation is that every single person who voted for Trump richly deserves the awfulness they will get under him. But you had to drag the rest of us down with you. Finally, please god stop using words like “mandate”, “landslide”, or “soundly rejected” when it comes to this election. Trump barely won. Almost three million MORE people voted against him than for him. No honest person would classify that as anything but a Hail Mary overtime win on a technicality. Most people are not with you. Please learn to see reality as it is, not as professional creeps tell you it is.
I never said I hated Barack Obama. I dislike his policies– there’s a big difference.
I challenge you: name me something I’ve written about here that is false. This is President Obama’s legacy, like it or not.
Can you elaborate on the new “rights” he interpreted?
Absolutely amen girl! The best commentary I’ve read yet!
Hi Ms. Ramirez,
This is coming from a liberal Christian who is very, very interested in real, kind, and civil dialogue and not interested in spewing hate at you. I promise you, there are mean people on both sides and we’re all learning that we do seriously need to listen to each other.
Adding to that though, after seeing the influence your posts have had on my friends, I don’t think that being polite and kind means neglecting to tell you when you are failing to empathize with people and failing to see huge bodies of research on topics like race and immigration in America. It’s honestly shocking to me to hear the way that you describe the Black Lives Matter movement and the way Obama has dealt with it. I want to ask you to consider a point I have heard brought up many times throughout this election as it is often called one of our most “divisive” in history. When president Andrew Jackson was elected, an iron-handed, “nationalist” man who generalized an entire ethnic and religious group of people (in his case, American Indians), and singled them out as deserving violence and being inferior to “true” Americans (although this land does not belong to white Christians, never has and never will), people certainly disagreed with him. There has been outcry at presidential failures, at racial issues, there has been demonization and muckraking from every American political party throughout history. But why are things so “divisive” now?
I would argue it is because there are voices we are hearing for the first time. There are the voices of immigrants, who look at our German and Dutch and Irish and Australian ancestors and ask us why we think we have any more right than they do to be here. Any right to call them “bad hombres”, or lament their drug culture, when we all know (look it up from the sources you trust), that rich white Americans use drugs just as pervasively as the immigrant community, but are just “better” at covering it up. Probably because they don’t get profiled by policemen on a regular basis.
Speaking of racial profiling, I would like to ask you to read articles from African Americans who are not interested in “dividing” the church, but in sharing their real and personal stories. There are many things that I disagree with you on; however, I believe that this is arguably one of the most important. I am not here to call you a racist, or yell at you for your white privilege, because I’ve come to realize just how impossible it is for any of us who are not black in America to understand the African American experience. To understand just how humiliating it is to be pulled over for the sole reason that you are black, and wearing a hood, or choose to wear your hair a certain way, driving in a rich neighborhood that you worked even harder just to get into. To hear from the people meant to protect that weak and oppressed that because of your skin color you don’t belong. Have you imagined what that feels like? Have you read the statistics on the prevalence of racial profiling and race-based arrests in America? And if you don’t trust my statistics, have you read the stories? Please, go look at this article by the devout evangelical Christian artist Lecrae, who only recently began infusing his music with messages about race because of his disgust at the unresponsiveness of the American church. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lecrae-rapper-christian-black-lives-matter_us_5783ff28e4b0344d51508a2e. You might tell me I can’t trust the Huffington Post (and sure they have their issues)… but why isn’t Christianity Today publishing this article, or Politico, or Fox News? Why are they not telling the stories and listening to and empathizing with those who are clearly treated as second class citizens? Racism in American is not a myth, and I’m shocked that you would seriously say that the first black president is “race-baiting”. America has elected an African-American, so how shocking – we’re arguing about race again. Have you considered that it is the people saying he has no right to lead our country starting the fights, not Obama himself?
Obama has so rarely spoken out on the obvious police brutality that I personally think he has not done enough. But if people are so easily offended by what he has to say, I think it is those so easily “baited” by the mention of our race problem, not our deeply polite and eloquent president.
We as a country enslaved an entire race and built our entire economy, our system of freedom, our socio-economic system, on putting white people above black people for 300 years. But then we had the audacity to enslave African-Americans with forced poverty, with segregation, with job separation, with separate bathrooms and department stores and water fountains for another 100 years! Bitterness is the human, natural response. “Docility” is the lie of the oppressor, who secretly believes that black people are inferior, and that we were doing a favor by “educating” them while they were enslaved. The protests you call “hate-based” are an outcry against the incomplete equality we have given black people in America. They do not deserve to be 5.1 times more likely to be incarcerated (according to the IBT times), when the biggest reason for their arrests is drug use that whites are just as guilty of. They do not deserve to have to work harder for every opportunity they get, because their “right” to be somewhere, their ability to transcend the oppression in their history is called into question. They deserve full equality.
MLK was murdered for what he said. His murder demands outrage – respect for his legacy of peace, of course, but outrage nonetheless – for how many of the lionized white American presidents did as much for our commitment to equality as he did? Saying that every black American must be as sweet as MLK is silencing the righteous anger of people who deserve, on every level, to be heard.
I’m sorry for the long rambling post. Thank you for starting discussion, and I hope that if you decide to respond, you will let me hear your honest opinion of the ideas I have expressed and give me food for thought as well.
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