Unemployment is rising.
Troops are deployed on two battle fields at once.
The nation's landmark "healthcare reform" law is so fabulous that American corporations are lining-up for the privilege of "opting out" of compliance with it. And there is international chatter of abandoning the dollar as a global currency.
So, if you're the President of the United States and you're presiding over all of this at once, what do you do?
If you're President Barack Obama, you rush out to speak to audiences of college students. And then you lecture the students about slavery, and the women's suffrage movement.The college crowd remains fairly "warm" to President Obama these days, even when other audiences are not. And while many Democrat political candidates are publicly shunning President Obama for fear that he's politically toxic, Governor Martin O'Malley welcomed the President into the state of Maryland last Thursday, only to have the President heckled by a student shouting "you're a liar."
Thus it has been noteworthy to watch Barack Obama try to "fire up" a demographic that was significant to his election victory in 2008 - the "under thirty crowd" as the Obama gang calls it - and get them motivated to go out and vote again this November. The response he's received at college campuses has been welcoming, although not as enthusiastic as two years ago. But the introduction of the "slavery" and "women's suffrage" themes have been intriguing, to say the least, and they warrant some careful analysis by those of us who live "off campus."
In one such speech, delivered at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the President used the historic references as a prelude to a powerful "applause line." As he reverted to his "casual" speaking style, droppin' the "ing" sounds from the ends of words and such, he delivered the analogy this way:
"In every instance, progress took time. in every instance, progress took sacrifice. progress took faith.ya know.the slaves sittin' around the fire..singin' freedom songs.they weren't sure when slavery would end but they understood it was gonna..when women were out there marchin' for the right to vote.they weren't sure when it was gonna happen but they kept on goin'..when workers were organizing for the right to organize, and were bein' intimidated, they weren't sure when change was gonna come, but they knew it was gonna come, and I am tellin' you Wisconsin. we are bringin' about change, and progress is gonna come.but you gotta stick with me, ya can't lose heart."
So, just as the fight for freedom among the slaves and the quest for the right to vote among women both entailed very slow processes, so also is the quest for Obama-styled "progress." At least that seems to be the message from the President's Wisconsin speech.
This, of course, raises the question of just what is "progress," as Mr. Obama defines it. Is it a robust and thriving economy, or is it the confiscation of wealth from the "haves" and the re-distribution of that wealth to the "have-nots?" Is it more competitive, more affordable healthcare pricing, or is it 'government control" over who receives healthcare?
But never mind the questions about Obama's actual objectives. Consider what he is asking his audience to think, and to believe. He wants us to believe that , just as solutions to slavery and female oppression eventually "worked, " so also will his "big government solutions" to America's current problems work, if only we allow adequate time.
But here's where Mr. Obama's analogy goes horribly awry. The problems of slavery and the oppression of women were in no small part "caused" by government itself - and the process of eradicating our society of those egregious social ills did not begin with "government programs," but rather, from outside the halls of government.
Think about it - the United States Government, itself (including the U.S. Supreme Court) determined that black people were not "fully human," and thus could be bought and sold as property. Similarly, the denial of a woman's right to vote was also sanctioned and upheld by the government. Liberals like Barack Obama talk eloquently about how government brought about "reform" - and indeed, over time, government did clean up its act and change its ways. But the demand for "reform," the instigation of "reform," didn't begin in Congress or in the White House.
No, real "reform" came from outside the U.S. government, and from within America's "moral-cultural system" - which is to say that the demand for change emerged mostly from religious communities and private civic groups. All that "singin'" and "hopin'" that the President spoke about - it didn't come from Congress or the White House. Private citizens in the "private sector" led the charge on correcting these grave American injustices, and the U.S. government followed - not the other way around.
The private sector has saved us from big, bad government in the past, and it will do so again. And President Obama absolutely cannot save us from big government - nor can he save us from himself.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.