WASHINGTON, April 7, 2015 — President Obama says he wants to unite the country. He started saying it before he took office.
When newly elected in 2008, Obama spoke of a country divided by war, a poor economy and social injustices. He pledged to correct those problems and bring all people together. Instead he has made the divisions in this country wider than ever, and things are getting worse.
In 2010. Obama was determined to pass a national health insurance law. He called together a conference of the leaders from both parties to hear their views. The problem was that he really did not listen to any opposing views. When John McCain became critical of part of the president’s plan, Obama reminded McCain, “I won the election, John.”
The Obama administration essentially wrote the law and then insisted that Congress vote for it without even reading what was in it. Every single Republican refused to cast a positive vote, so the Affordable Care Act passed with only votes from the Democratic Party. This was when the divisions began to widen.
Then there was the IRS scandal. Despite ongoing dishonesty and obfuscation, it is virtually certain that the Obama administration directed the IRS to delay passing tax-exempt status for any conservative group that requested it. While IRS officials continue to deny any wrongdoing and while the president claims there is not a “smidgen of corruption” evident in that agency, recently released documents that strongly suggest otherwise.
Yet the president’s Department of Justice said it will not seek criminal charges against IRS official Lois Lerner, who remains at the center of the controversy, claiming there is no evidence of criminal activity. A federal judge disagreed and has just ordered the IRS to produce a list of all 298 conservative non-profit groups targeted by the IRS.
Obama’s IRS actions have widened the division between liberals and conservatives even further.
Then there’s the small matter of the U.S. economy. Instead of uniting all Americans, Obama blamed the problems of the lower class on the upper class. He began by various means to redistribute income first by raising numerous taxes on those who contribute the most to the economy. Then, through various social programs, he redistributed those tax dollars to those who, for whatever reason, had contributed little or nothing to the economy. This built resentment and widened the division between the givers and the takers still further.
Ironically, Obama has continued to highlight the problem of income inequality, noting that the gap between the highest and lowest income earners is far too big. He says that it benefits everyone to have a more equal distribution of income. Yet, contrary to his stated goals, his radical, redistributionist policies have made income inequality worse, thus widening the division between the rich and the poor, and not to the advantage of the latter.
Now we face additional divisiveness when it comes to our current foreign policy. Obama seems to have a view of world events that doesn’t fit what is actually occurring in the world. Instead of consulting with leaders of both parties to develop policy that recognizes the concerns of all Americans, he isolates and ignores everyone who is not part of his inner circle, choosing to go it alone.
The president should be consulting with Congress as he negotiates an agreement with Iran. He insists on going it alone and then believes he can persuade Congress to go along. Isolating Congress from key policy decisions − including what will likely amount to a treaty − will only widen the division.
Even more notable, historically there has never been a division between the U.S. and our closest ally in the Middle East. The U.S. and Israel have always had a close relationship where unity was regularly affirmed, even during periods where there were serious differences of opinion. Now that Obama is negotiating a deal that could be a threat to the very survival of Israel, an unprecedented and serious division is developing between the two once closely allied countries.
Other allies question the closeness of their own relationship with the U.S. One prime example: Ukrainians can’t get weapons from the Obama administration to defend themselves. They question whether Obama is standing with them or is standing somewhere further away. So do numerous other countries that thought they and the U.S. were allies.
The president’s deeds are noticeably different from the ideas he espoused in the past. In 2008, he assured his party that he could unite the country better than Hillary Clinton. This was a major reason why he was nominated for president. He said he would “turn the page on the ugly partisanship in Washington.”
Once elected, he continued to assure the American people that he would bring the country together, starting with the Democratic and Republican parties. Yet since that time the parties and the country have become more divided. Being united is very important for the U.S. at a time when we face difficult problems that could threaten our very existence.
Remember: “United we stand, divided we fall.” With Obama’s continued divisiveness, we could all end up falling.
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