SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 14, 2016 — With his final State of the Union speech, President Obama managed to drag the address to an undignified new low. He played politics with his speech, taking political jabs at the GOP contenders. He used his platform almost as if he were on the stump himself for 2016.
The number of viewers watching the speech was about 31.3 million, the lowest number for any of Obama’s State of the Union addresses. The speech received the second lowest ratings since Neilsen started keeping track in 1993.
The president took issue in his speech mostly with Donald Trump, but he also took a swipe at Ted Cruz. He denounced Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, and said:
There have been those who told us to fear the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on change, promising to restore past glory if we just got some group or idea that was threatening America under control. And each time, we overcame those fears. We did not, in the words of Lincoln, adhere to the “dogmas of the quiet past.”
More than once, Obama tried to wax Lincoln\esque, as when he observed, “That’s what’s meant by a government of, by, and for the people.” But Obama twisted Lincoln’s words to suit his own purpose.
For Lincoln, the use of “quiet” was ironic, though compared with what he had to face in 1862, the preceding years were relatively “quiet.”
On June 16, 1858, Lincoln expressed a profound understanding of the dangers facing the United States in his “House Divided” speech, which addressed the “dogmas” of his day:
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new—North as well as South.
Obama’s dogmas quotation was lifted from an address Lincoln delivered to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862, one month before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln was desperate to end the war and looking for ways to expedite that result.
Obama may think that, like Lincoln, he is embroiled in a war for America’s soul that demands that the American people cease their adherence to the dogmas of the past.
The dogmas that led to the war over slavery were poised to destroy the Union. The dogmas of our quiet past that alarm Obama were intended to preserve the union.
Today, as in Lincoln’s day, America is a house divided. Obama admitted that in his address when he said, “one of the few regrets of my presidency—that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better …”
But he himself helped fan the flames of rancor, suspicion and racial conflict. In January 2014 Obama told the New Yorker magazine that some people in the country do not like him simply because he is black. He qualified his comment, saying that “opposition to large federal powers does not make one racist, but … supporters of states’ rights should also acknowledge the history tied to that philosophy, which was key to southern thinking during the Civil War.”
Obama intended to lump his opponents into the category of “racist.” He ran for office as the one who could heal the racial divide in America, but during his tenure, his administration and his party have done all they can do to create a perceived linkage between the KKK and the GOP.
Obama’s attempts to link modern opposition to expanding federal power with the defense of slavery in Lincoln’s day are designed to tar anyone who disagrees with him as morally equivalent to southern slave owners and the KKK.
The focus on racism to explain opposition to Obama and all the ills of the U.S. has itself created much of the rancor in America today. The president has used the cry of racism as a shield or a spear to protect him or the Democratic Party for so long that his talk of bridging the chasms of division ring hollow.
The irony of this situation is that, when successful members of the black community like Herman Cain, Dr. Benjamin Carson, and Col. Allen West speak out against Obama’s politics, the pushback message is that these black men are not the right kind of black man to represent the black community. Where does such a narrative originate?
This divisive narrative originates with the Democrats; the spirit of this narrative was on display in the SOTUS. The Democrats continue to try to hold onto one of their most important voting constituencies by keeping blacks on the plantation, just as their forefathers did in the slave empire of the Deep South.
To fight the narrative that blacks are dependent on the Democratic Party takes guts. But a black man is challenging that narrative, a man of courage who wants to end black dependence on the Democrats.
He is the only black man running for the American presidency in 2016: Benjamin Solomon Carson.
Is the GOP is ready for Dr. Carson? It is obvious that the Democrats are not. He destroys their dependency narrative. They fear him for that reason, just as the white southern aristocracy feared Lincoln.
Those who voted for Obama simply because he was a black man must face a dilemma with the candidacy of Carson—a Republican. Where is the mainstream media excitement over another black candidate?
Unfortunately, some Neanderthals believe that Obama’s horrendous job means we should never support another black man in a White House run. But as bad as Obama may be, he did say in his address what we need in a president: “There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide…”
That Obama used the SOTUS as a political platform shows his inability to understand what the “gifts of Lincoln” are. He also used Franklin Roosevelt as an example, but, the sad reality is that during FDR’s tenure in office, blacks rioted over the lack of jobs when a majority of white men were off to war.
So which candidate in 2016 is blessed with the “gifts of a Lincoln”?
Lincoln believed in the ideals of the Founding Fathers. When he was elected president, he was president of the entire country, not just of the North, of the Republicans or of the Abolitionists.
Obama bears little resemblance to Lincoln in this respect; Carson does. He has been demonstrating his love for the ideals of the Founding Fathers for years, and he understands we are not each other’s enemies.
To listen to Carson without the filter of media that disdain his beliefs is to know that he is more Lincoln-esque than Obama ever dreamed of being.
If ever there were a black leader who could wipe away the rancor, divisiveness and distrust that Obama has left in his wake, it is Ben Carson, the real heir to Lincoln.