Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thoughts from a 6-foot Ladder

For most of the past month I’ve been away helping my daughter and son-in-law in Pennsylvania.  It was a busy month celebrating Christmas, seeing my wife off as she returned to Florida, helping to care for six children, all under the age of nine, assisting with the house chores, and driving my son-in-law to and from work after his surgery.  I spent few moments each day reflecting on the world events important to that day and the political turmoil of the left and the right did not rise to even an afterthought.  I suspect that is the way it is for most young families.

I returned last night, with a head cold – compliments of the Reading Hospital ER where we spent a lovely 4-hours with three children who were suspected of ingesting some prescription medication.  It turned out they hadn’t.  Of course, head cold or no, there were Christmas decorations waiting to be taken down so I’ve had a full day of standing on my ladder as I took the lights from the eaves and the lower branches of the Magnolia tree.  While on the ladder I had some time to consider some of the political news I had not bothered with, and now in the quiet of the evening have time to put my thoughts, for what they are worth, down.

As President Obama prepares to leave office, I find his actions incredible.  He has shown, by his deeds, his core beliefs.  Political opportunism and advancement of his agenda is far more important to him than leaving his successor a secure and sustainable nation.  In years past I’ve commented on what appears to be a narcissistic characteristic, where every event is about him.   That opinion has only been reinforced this month as we watched both he and his Vice President award themselves medals for being the greatest team to run the country for the past eight years.  Can anyone name another outgoing Executive that felt so compelled to the spot light that they would have one of their Cabinet members award them a medal?

There is a tradition among past presidents to shun the limelight once they leave office, and not attempt to undermine their successor’s task of leading the nation.  My guess is we will regularly see President Obama on the news doing everything he can to delegitimize President Trump.  The ground work for this has already been laid, and we see the short-sighted approach of leading Congressional Democrats in making a public stance on not attending the inauguration.  Aided by a willing media, I don’t think it will be long before Mr. Obama finds some excuse to interject himself back into the political debate.

Accountability has never been a strength of this administration.  If you look at the claims from the White House that they have been the most scandal free administration in history the natural question is are they really that morally superior, or is it they have found effective ways to avoid the accountability that comes when there is a legitimate press, asking hard questions.  Who, aside from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, has been held responsible for the deplorable conditions of their hospitals and patient care?  Who in the IRS has been held responsible for their targeting of conservative groups asking for tax exemptions?  Who in the DOJ has been held responsible for sending assault weapons to drug cartels?  Of course, the EPA is accountable, right?  Who is held responsible for the spills into the Animas River, or who approved the oil pipeline through the Standing Rock tribal lands?  Finally, who in the administration has even considered holding Ms. Clinton responsible for her actions?  As far as I know, few have anything to fear from this administration as long as they are pushing the right agenda.

Speaking of agenda and accountability, consider the reasons why the President would choose to pardon a soldier convicted of violating the espionage act by giving WikiLeaks over three quarters of a million official documents containing some of the nation’s highest classification.  Surely, the fact she claims now to be a transgender woman and has the support of the LGBT community can’t possibly be a factor.  Could it?  What message does this send to the society at large?  If you have identify-issues, then accountability isn’t required?  Looking at how the administration has dealt with Ms. Clinton and Manning it is clear there is no expectation of accountability in the President.  Clearly the heart of the Presidential policy is “Say anything, do anything, and the people will love me, because I am me!”  How often do we hear how great he is from the entertainment industry we call ABCNNBCBS and Hollywood?

For a President who had the unique opportunity to unify this nation and bring the different races to a shared vision he has been a miserable failure, but of course it was not his fault.  It never is.  Recognizing the BLM while failing to even note the increased assassinations of America’s police is clearly a political choice, like all his choices it is one aimed at dividing this nation, not calming and unifying.  For him, and those who worship him, the cult of personality is all that matters.  Hmmm, I wonder where else we have seen a cult of personality drive their nation to destruction?  The name Hugo Chávez seems to ring a bell.

Finally, watching the antics of the two sides play out, I don’t look forward to the next four years, but I will continue to write about what I observe.  Hopefully from time to time a few will read and let me know what they think.


Jeannette said...

Who indeed?...None of their scandals got free!

Your grandpa time has undoubtably left indelible and sweet memories. Stay balanced on and off the ladder!

Mark said...

I'm confident you're not in jeopardy, balance-wise, on that ladder. It's been a long 8 years...the next 4? I share both your current assessment and your optimistic outlook.

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