2010: The Audacity of our Hopes

Posted: Dec 26, 2010 12:01 AM

Benjamin Brown French strung a banner across the full length of the western portico of the Capitol. The illuminated sign was legible up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. It read:

This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” French was the capital’s commissioner of public buildings.

He was not celebrating the Republicans’ election victories of 2010. French raised his banner—quoting from the 23rd verse of the 118th Psalm—to celebrate the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox the previous Sunday, April 9, 1865.

Still, for millions of us last fall, Commissioner French’s illuminated banner bore the message of our hearts: We prayed for this.

We had audacious hopes. We did not hope that the Republican Party would triumph at the polls. Instead we prayed for a constitutional check on this gravest threat to our system of ordered liberty since the Civil War. We prayed that Barack Obama’s progressive juggernaut would be stopped in its tracks.

The Republicans, as Sen.-elect Marco Rubio put it, won only “a second chance.” The shellacking the voters gave the president came not a minute too soon.

Never before have we had a president who publicly termed the Koran “Holy,” as President Obama did in Cairo. To say it is Holy, capital H, is to accept Muslim claims of supersession over Christian Scriptures.

We have never before had a president who publicly said Islam has been “revealed,” as he said also at Cairo. To say Islam is revealed goes beyond saying it began in the Mideast, or first appeared in that region. “Revealed” is a theologically and politically freighted word that means Mr. Obama thinks it was revealed by God.

Millions of Americans witnessed President Obama’s epic inauguration in Washington. The world little noted nor long remembered that, for the first time ever, Mr. Obama displaced the Jews. He said we are “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers…”

Never before had the Jews been relegated to a lesser standing than Muslims in this country. The Jews have been our neighbors and fellow citizens since 1634. Jewish ideas and principles were embraced by the Pilgrims, and upheld by the Founders. Jefferson and Franklin even wanted the Great Seal of the United States to depict the Children of Israel leaving bondage in Egypt.

Days after his inauguration, President Obama tossed out of the Oval Office the bust of Winston Churchill, even as his administration made clear we have no special relationship with Great Britain.

President John F. Kennedy had overruled his own father’s burning hatred of Churchill and signed legislation making the half-American statesman an honorary citizen of the United States.

Nor, apparently, do we have any special relationship with Israel. President Roosevelt met the king of Saudi Arabia in 1945. Even if FDR could have bowed to that desert despot, he would not have dreamed of doing so. Nor would Roosevelt bow to the Saudi king’s demands that any future Jewish state be located—in occupied Germany. Three years later, President Harry Truman defied Arab threats and recognized the infant State of Israel within minutes of its birth.

The week after his mid-term drubbing, President Obama went to the ends of the earth to denounce the building of apartments for Jews in Jerusalem. Although he was to visit Jakarta, Indonesia, for less than 24 hours, he used precious time in his boyhood home to argue that Israel must halt further construction. vChurchill would have recognized Mr. Obama’s arguments. In 1922, while Winston was heavily embroiled in the Irish troubles, a move arose in Parliament to disavow the promises Britain had made to the Jews in the wartime Balfour Declaration. Members cried out against more Jewish settlement in Palestine.

In debate on July 4th, Churchill rose to oppose such a betrayal of Britain’s word. “It is hard enough, in all conscience, to make a New Zion, but if, over the portals of the new Jerusalem you are going to inscribe the legend, ‘No Israelite need apply,’ then I hope the House [of Commons] will permit me to confine my attention exclusively to Irish matters.” The House exploded in laughter. Churchill’s wit had defused a crisis.

There is, of course, a sign over the portal in Jakarta. No Israelites may enter there. Nor, if President Obama has his way, will Israelites be allowed to enter new homes in Jerusalem, either.

For these and a hundred other reasons, millions of Americans prayed that Barack Obama would be checked, his headlong pursuits frustrated. While the media deplore the prospects of gridlock in Washington, for millions of American voters, deadlock would be preferable to advancing another step on the road to serfdom and dhimmitude.

We were audacious to put our hopes in the American people and in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever seen. We were not disappointed. It is marvelous in our eyes.