Jon Sanders

In recent weeks, Sen. Barack Obama has found himself having to make two major speeches to address significant, unavoidable issues facing his campaign. The first was his original attempt at addressing his race-mad mentor, pastor, and family friend, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. This week has seen his answer to questions about his patriotism.

Both speeches use the same formula: hearken to America's founding, hail the shining ideals of America's revolutionary liberty, invoke the greatness and even the rhetoric of American luminaries gone by, and then subtly change the focus to suggest that the next step for American liberty is to become a socialized nanny state for the greater good.

In the Wright speech, Obama used the phrase "to form a more perfect Union" from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States as his starting point and brought it to this conclusion, what he saw as the way to make the union more perfect: "It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children. But it is where we start."

In his patriotism speech, Obama starts with the Founders, makes some laudable comments about their revolutionary fight and the risks they took for "the idea of God-given, inalienable rights" and hallows the Declaration of Independence. Toward the end, he even bemoans "[t]he loss of quality civic education from so many of our classrooms has left too many young Americans without the most basic knowledge of who our forefathers are, or what they did, or the significance of the founding documents that bear their names."

Such rhetoric is welcome; it upholds and reinforces the importance of America's founding ideals, the standard of liberty by which all subsequent political proposals should be judged. As such, Obama's rhetoric in that respect is welcome even if it is merely a pro forma invocation of the American scripture.


Jon Sanders

Jon Sanders is associate director of research at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.