Oh, how things have changed. Last year, ringing in the very first birthday of America’s Right, I rambled on and on about myself, about how I found my way ideologically after what seemed like a lifetime in the dark as a liberal Democrat, and about how this place came into existence. This year, I don’t think anybody wants to hear it — and, frankly, I don’t think we have that luxury.
It’s a different time, folks. The distance between January 14, 2009 and January 14, 2010 is almost unfathomable. Just one year has passed, and yet for the most part I don’t recognize my own nation.
At this point last year, the United States of America was still the better part of a week away from the inauguration of a president we all knew nothing about. And in saying that Barack Obama was an unknown to so many Americans, I don’t mean that in terms of his medical records, or his birth certificate, or his shoe size or golf handicap; what I mean is that, as much as many of us thought we knew about Barack Obama from his voting record and from his upbringing and past associations, we really didn’t know squat.
Oh, from looking at the Global Poverty Act–which imposed an $845 billion global tax on the United States purportedly in an attempt to fight poverty worldwide and was the only piece of legislation which truly bore his name–we might have been able to discern that he was a spendthrift and interested in the redistribution of wealth, but the extent of these tendencies wouldn’t truly be known until he and Congress passed a $787 billion stimulus package, tipped the budgetary scales at more than $3.6 trillion, and added more to the national debt than every one of his predecessors from George Washington to George W. Bush combined.
And sure, from looking at his close relationship with Rashid Khalidi–a former PLO operative who founded the Arab-American Action Network and has been outwardly critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinian terrorists–we might suspect that he would never truly err on the side of Israel, but his comparison during his Cairo speech of the horrors of the Holocaust to the 60-year search for a Palestinian homeland would likely raise a few eyebrows, as would his rambling press conference–complete with a “shout-out”–following the murder of more than a dozen Americans by radical Muslim terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood, his decision to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Lower Manhattan for a civilian trial, and his continued overall propensity for treating terrorists like citizens and citizens like terrorists.
And, of course, considering the twenty years he spent in the pews at Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church, we’d likely figure that race would play a part in President Obama’s administration, but never would we imagine that he would, in a knee-jerk reaction, accuse the Cambridge Police Department of “acting stupidly” for arresting a man–who happened to be black–who was caught breaking into a house that turned out to be his own, but nonetheless became belligerent in the process. Nor would we expect his Justice Department to drop charges, no questions asked, against members of the New Black Panther Party who intimidated voters and prevented access to a Philadelphia polling place during the 2008 presidential election.
And considering his association with unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, a socialist who along with the Weather Underground wanted and tried to bring down the American federal government, we could have seen that perhaps the president wasn’t quite a fan of America, the superpower. But we would have been wont to predict Barack Obama’s initial apology tour, during which he traveled the globe blaming the United States for the ills of the world, nor could we have predicted that he would bow to foreign dignitaries, shake the hand and smile alongside Hugo Chavez, and work overtime to destroy the very idea of American exceptionalism by working to dismantle the American health care system and move what’s left of our business and industry overseas through enacting Draconian environmental laws and standards.
We could have predicted that he would expand government, but perhaps not so far as to think that we would own General Motors and Chrysler, or that we would be on track for a health care reform plan which would eventually descend into a single-payer, government-run system. And we might have foreseen that he might not want us to drive our SUV’s and set our thermostats at 72 degrees, but even at that time the reality of a true cap-and-trade system seemed a long-shot.
A lot of people, including myself, predicted that Barack Obama in the Oval Office would mean a whole lot of change–and not the good kind–for America, but the speed in which he moved forward with the agenda being cultivated by the far-left reaches of his party for the past four decades was surprising and off-putting to say the least. All in all, with regard to the overall direction in which this nation is headed, it hasn’t been a great year.
However, what could not have been predicted, at least not with any degree of specificity, was the reaction of the American people. Of course, I said time and time again in the weeks and months leading up to the 2008 presidential election and the first anniversary of America’s Right that a Barack Obama presidency would have the same effect on the American people as does a bad car wreck, in that just as someone who escapes a horrific crash with his or her life often finds a new respect for life, the American people would survive four years of Barack Obama with a newfound respect for freedom — but the tea parties and town halls and marches on Capitol Hill was by far the most welcome surprise of the year.
Last year was all about sentimentality, and included more than a smattering of unease. This year, however, I cannot help but wonder about what I’ll be writing on this day in 2011. My family and I will be weathering a mild winter in Charleston, South Carolina instead of shivering our way through January in Philadelphia. I’ll have either passed or failed the South Carolina Bar Exam in July, and will hopefully hold a day job which doesn’t involve memorizing and reciting a daily soup and fish special. And depending upon those things, we’ll either be in a wonderful new home or a respectable little apartment.
However it turns out on my end, my guess is that the news overall will be slightly better, that we’ll still be forced to endure another two years of President Barack Obama, but that the sting will have been tempered a bit by a new, principled Republican Party in touch with its Jeffersonian roots and in control of either the House or Senate, or both. I can’t say with any certainty what we’ll see over the next year, as such a span of time is an eternity in American politics, but I imagine that we’ll see a cornered Democratic Party make an attempt at comprehensive immigration reform, we’ll see the extension and return of populist successes such as the homebuyers’ tax credit and Cash For Clunkers, and we’ll see the mainstream press begin an across-the-board campaign intended to inflate tea party egos and tout the movement as a viable third party.
Beyond that, I don’t know. Don’t tell anybody, but there’s a whole lot I don’t know. I just appreciate all of you being here for my learning process. Ten years ago, I was a liberal Democrat. One year ago, I considered myself a conservative. Now, I’d say I’m pushing toward committed Libertarian. Who knows what another year will bring?
Regardless, I look forward to it. I look forward to expanding the size, scope and reach of America’s Right. I look forward to welcoming new contributors, taking on new challenges, and making both new friends and new enemies. I can’t say we’ll change the world, but I sure as heck can’t say we won’t change a few minds and expand even more.
Thank you for being here.