09 August 2009

Everything Changed on January 20th

Immediately after President Obama took the oath, change came quickly:
  • Seems no one is afraid of big government, privacy matters or record deficits anymore.
  • Gone are those "grannies for peace" who used to carry signs demanding an end to the wars that are still going on.
  • The open and operating GITMO no longer the cancer of our national soul since someone else now sits in the Oval Office.
  • And it's no longer okay to petition the government for a redress of grievances:
When handfuls of Code Pink ladies disrupted congressional hearings or speeches by Bush administration officials, it was taken as evidence that the administration's policies were unpopular, and that the thinking parts of the populace were rising up in true democratic fashion.

This was just good, boisterous politics: "Robust, wide-open debate." But when it happens to Democrats, it's something different: A threat to democracy, a sign of incipient fascism, and an opportunity to set up a (possibly illegal) White House "snitch line" where people are encouraged to report "fishy" statements to the authorities.
Civility is fine, but those who demand it should show it. The Obama administration -- and its corps of willing supporters in the press and the punditry -- has set the tone, and they are now in a poor position to complain.

Whether they like it or not -- and the evidence increasingly tends toward "not" -- President Obama and his handlers need to accept that this is a free country, one where expressions of popular discontent take place outside the electoral process, and always have. (Remember Martin Luther King?)
Rather than demonizing today's protesters, perhaps they might want to reflect on how flimflams and thuggishness have managed to squander Obama's political capital in a few short months, and ponder what they might do to regain the trust of the millions of Americans who are no longer inclined to give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt.

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