signs & wonders
Mercy me, I nearly fainted at all the angry rhetoric from some of my Facebook friends and acquaintances last night. Obama gets elected and all of the sudden we're facing imminent threats of a planned economy, gay abortionists, the second coming of Christ, and half our school teachers moving to the conservative hotbed that is Canada. You'd think it was the end of the world.
Being as we here at Texas in Africa are very interested in providing a public service whenever possible, now seems as good a time as any to launch a project we've been thinking about for awhile now: The Texas in Africa Apocalypse Watch 2008/09. That way, whenever you see a sign that the Obama administration is about to push America over the edge, you can report it here. We'll keep a log of all the plagues of frogs and locusts, rivers of blood, and changes in the color of the moon that are apparently inevitable, so keep 'em coming!
Seriously. I joke, but some of my friends really do believe this kind of rhetoric. And while I certainly believe that there are legitimate reasons to disagree with many of Barack Obama's policy positions, cavalierly throwing around terms like "socialist" and "antichrist" represents a fundamental failure to understand the meaning of those words or the way the American political system operates.
The record will show that I've already gotten on my soapbox a time or two about how bad the theology underlying the Left Behind fiction series is, so I'm not even going to dignify the antichrist nonsense with a response. Besides, according to what Dawson McAlister told us at a conference at Shades Mountain circa 1993, the antichrist will be Russian. ('Cause that's in the Bible, right next to where it says that puppy dogs go to heaven.)
As for "socialism," look. A taxpayer-funded bailout of corporations is not socialism, nor is a proposal to give tax cuts and credits to the middle class and working poor while raising the tax rate on the wealthy. It isn't a "redistribution of wealth" anymore than any other kind of government spending that doesn't benefit everyone in our society is. Socialism occurs when a country institutes a planned economy, puts tight controls on market prices for goods and services, and often uses force to accomplish those ends.
Nobody in the Obama administration will advocate collectivized farming.
Second, those who do and don't like Obama's policies both need to remember that presidents fail to secure their major legislative agendas about 80% of the time. Even in one-party government (which I agree is dangerous and almost always leads to corruption), presidents still have to contend with 535 outsized egos in order to get anything done.
"Ambition must be made to counteract ambition," wrote James Madison in Federalist 51. He designed a brilliant system that does just that. It sets up 537 people who are used to getting their way against one another, and forces them to compromise on policies that are best for the most Americans. That means, among other things, that no president, no matter how popular, can do everything he or she wants or promises to do in four or eight years. Remember Bush's bit plans for privatization of Social Security and immigration reform? How about Hillarycare, or Reagan's plan to cut spending that resulted in a huge deficit? Even if Barack Obama wanted to do all the crazy things his critics accuse him of (And, to be 100% clear, he doesn't want to do those things. Stop relying on unsubstantiated rumors and look at the facts), our political system won't allow it to happen.
I'm pretty sure that the fate of the republic is secure. Most of Obama's job will be cleaning up the mess the Bush administration made by restoring the powers of the presidency and vice-presidency to their constitutional limits, rebuilding America's relationships with our historic allies, and figuring out what to do in Iraq. But let us know if you see something funny, m'kay?