July 4, 2009
Join the Discussion: An American Thinker Readers' July 4th SymposiumBy Jeanette Colville
When readers come to American Thinker, every article and blog invites them to "Join the Discussion." American Thinker readers reflect a vast range of the American demographic spectrum economically, professionally, and spiritually, but they overwhelmingly show us through their comments when they join the discussions, that they share a powerful common ground of love of country and concern for America's future. We asked a few of our readers to join the discussion on how the Obama administration has affected their lives, and this is what they tell us.
- Jeanette Colville, Comments Moderator
Altalena - English teacher, writer, and public speaking coach, St. Louis, Missouri
July 4th is the day we celebrate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness -- and all three are in greater peril today than at any time in the recent past. Our lives are in peril because our president is courting the very people who would destroy us -- the jihadists and leftists who seek the downfall of America and the end of the American dream. Our liberty is in peril because our president is burdening us with unprecedented regulation and with massive bureaucratic intrusion into our lives. And our pursuit of happiness is imperiled because our president favors a socialist America -- and socialism has never produced true happiness, only true misery. That's why this Fourth of July may be the most important of our lives; it recalls us to the reality that our country was born swaddled in the Declaration of Independence, and that an independent people -- which we most certainly are -- can accomplish anything they put their hearts and minds to. So, on this Fourth and on all the days to follow, let's put our hearts and minds to work on electing a real American president in 2012. That's what our Founders would have done -- and we dare do no less.
GFreeman HL2 - South Carolina, photographer
Our McD's coffee is not yet the cost of a gallon of gas... yet. However, there is one thing directly that has hit home and is costing us actual coin. Credit cards. Between my wife and I, two of our cards have significantly lowered our credit limits and this has affected our credit scoring because the debt to limit ratio now looks/is greater. And, one of our cards has increased the percentage noticeably. Fortunately, we are still "achievers" and can compensate. However, this is causing a retrenchment of thinking about what constitutes a healthy balance to carry each month. We are now rearranging priorities as a result. We are going to whack our balances and tell most of the companies where to go by sending them shredded plastic.
Our unemployment rate has shot up and is now one of the highest in the nation. A friend working for our State Disabilities and Determination Board tells us that as our unemployment rate goes up, along with inflation, he sees an exponential metric to the applications for disability. He notes that it's ironic that as more people are being put out of work (with less exposure to disabling injury) the applications are increasing. It seems our citizens are looking at disability status as the next level of "safety" and deciding to give it a go.
FRS - Founder, President and CEO, Satkin Mills, Inc.
For the first time in my life I ask myself every morning, "Who am I and where am I going?" I don't mean me of course, I am in the shadow of my life, but I refer most to my grandchildren and my community, and my country. I am, after all, the American dream. But my community is in fast decline and my grandchildren won't have the opportunity, under the changes that Obama so recklessly embarks, that were offered to me if I only worked hard and smart enough to achieve them. It is my constant hope that I am living through a nightmare and will awake to the America I know and love. Under Obama, we stand for mediocrity in our economic prudence, our judicial and executive implementation of law by empathy, and our foreign relations.
Six months of Obama has caused strained relations with family and friends like at no other time in my life. This is not "hope and change," it is divide and conquer.
Lone Ranger - Small business owner in Ohio
Barack the Kenyan is on his way to destroying America. I've had my own masonry business for 22 years. The Liberal-caused housing, banking, and energy crisis has hurt business. There have hardly been any new housing starts. The Obama energy policies increase the cost of all products. The high cost of fuel affects the cost of building materials. The surcharges from fuel burned to make a brick, which is my business, get passed on to the customer - someone has to pay. My income has been cut in half and I have had to do other part-time work. We only buy necessities now. I have five more payments on my home which is good because I will need the extra money to pay my energy bills and other peoples' energy bills because of the higher cost of goods and services these Liberals will cause if this Cap and Trade bill goes to the Kenyan for his signature.
I bless President Bush for passing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to stop liberal lawyers and mayors from suing the manufactures of firearms for the criminal use of their products. This is another product that costs more because of the defense of these lawsuits. I worry now that the Liberals control everything they will want to repeal this law. And the so-called assault weapons ban that the Liberals in September of 2004 let sunset because it was an election year - the cowards! Remember the fake goose hunter John Kerry? This fraud will probably lead the way in repealing these laws, along with Obama the Liar in Chief who said he supports the 2nd amendment. One law at a time, the Liberals pass, until you have no rights and no money.
Grant Ellis - Electrical Engineering Consultant based in Comfort, Texas
With the election of Obama I was disgusted that the nation had again seated a candidate that was ill prepared and ill suited to the job. As the economy deteriorated and the initial objectives of TARP were abandoned, I became further concerned that our Presidential Trainee would be predisposed to make matters worse given his Socialist bias. Then there was the Inauguration. Less than 4 weeks later came the Stimulus Package hustle, passed by Congress, the contents of which were fundamentally unknown.
At that point I understood the unvarnished contempt that Obama and the Democrat-led Congress had for America. I immediately began acting on plans for sustaining my family through an economic collapse of historic proportion. Somehow it still seems over-the-top but we are learning what it takes to survive out of our own garden. We now have chickens, only six hens, but a half-dozen eggs per day is our little hedge against the sort of Category 5 meltdown that might follow extremely high fuel prices or food shortages. In April, as the Obama-Congress conspiracy seemed intent on fascism, we decided that being better armed couldn't hurt. We are now better armed.
In addition to the physical preparations, we've also elected to reconnect with the civics lessons of our youth. Thus, we began reading, then speaking out, then writing. Now, all due to Obama, we are blooming activists and I am seriously considering a run for political office.
llr - Advertising sales in South Dakota
President Obama, through policy and example, reinforces the notion that government can remove personal responsibility for mistakes. Similarly, he brazenly promotes the notion that personal likeability and similar beliefs to himself in his appointees can replace responsible behavior, competence, and record. Through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Stimulus Bill) to the reversal of the Mexico City Policy (taxpayer funded abortions overseas), he ominously positions government as an entity that will clean up the mistakes of some citizens, even non-citizens, and use other people's money to do it. In other words, a person can take out an affordable mortgage or get pregnant and I'll pay for it. He blatantly appointed known tax cheats to his cabinet and selected a bigoted Supreme Court nominee that appears to lack good judgment.
I now look at my current job and pay, not as it relates to my values and goals, but as income tax money to promote Obama's corrupt values and to help accomplish his immoral goals. Obama's performance harkens back to the days of kings and vassals. My heart aches for my country.
Ed Ski - Former Field Technician with Lockheed Martin, Lexington, North Carolina
The biggest thing to affect me since Obama's election has been his handling of the already downward turn of the economy. I was laid off from my job in mid-December and trying to find another one has been tough, at best. What was already a tough job market here has gotten worse because Obama has done what I feel is the complete opposite of what needs to be done to encourage companies to expand. Instead, what he has been proposing has caused many companies here and around the country to cut back as much as they can because of the expected extra costs they will have to incur in the form of new and increased taxes.
Angrytom - Telecom industry, Atlanta, Georgia
I love America and hate what I see is happening. I will fight and die to preserve what God Himself gave us, America the Shining City on the Hill!
Dave T - Small business owner in Alabama
Eight years ago I took $5,000 dollars, all I had, and created a business that now has four full-time professional employees and produces products and services for military programs and commercial products sold in several countries. I never ever doubted I could succeed and grow the company. Now, this administration and congress has me terrified. I can deal with markets and I can deal with the utmost challenging engineering and software issues. I can buy and build infrastructure and processes. Then came Obama. Now the phones are falling silent, the orders are drying up, and the future is uncertain. I am scared to death because not only is business slowing radically, but also I see taxes skyrocketing, inflation looms, and I see no end in sight. I'm lucky in that I have saved, but even with that, my stock portfolio? Down 53% last check. 401K? 50+% down.
My sister works at a major seaport for the longshoremen, billing the shipping company's traffic. She told me in all her 25+ years she has never seen it this slow. My gut feeling now? I expect to be alone struggling to survive. I have even researched moving abroad to escape this tyranny. The America I love does not exist anymore, I fear.
Cathnealon - Emergency Room Patient Advocate, Richmond, Virginia
There are so many Americans like me, at my workplace, at the grocery stores, at the ball games, at the doctors who are silently frustrated and absolutely bracing for the worst to happen. I work for a hospital in Richmond Virginia, in an Emergency Room in the heart of the city. The reality of Obamacare and the prospect of their salaries being dictated by the likes of Rahm Emanuel have shaken up the doctors. There's an eerie atmosphere in my ER - sort of like the end of the movie Titanic.
Dr. E who attended the inauguration and was absolutely glowing as he relayed his experiences now doesn't say a word when Dr. C sarcastically announces that they'll all be paid 30 cents on the dollar since everyone will be on Medicaid. Dr. E looks embarrassed that he ever voted for the fraud. And Dr. P, who also voted for The One and hails from India, talks to Dr. L incessantly about his future prospects. Dr. L, who didn't vote for BO and had his number from the beginning, is just plain angry. There's no "hope and change" love going on anymore. I just sit back and marvel that people with M.D.s after their names didn't see this coming. So BO's 'people of the lie' and the mainstream media are spinning their entitlement healthcare as the answer to the problem-well, just come to the ER and ask the Medicaid patients who can't find a doctor what it's like being rejected, or better yet, go to the VA hospitals and see how they're treating patients. That's all--simple--you want to see government controlled healthcare in action they'll be glad to show you.
I'm a mother of five grown children, and a daughter and granddaughter of those who escaped the worst dictatorships of the 20th century. My parents and grandparents never let us forget what freedom meant to them. I can only pray that some type of divine intervention is on the way.
Cfin5 - Small business owner in Ohio
This Tax and Kill legislation has my attention and will indeed influence my expenditures. My first thought in the common sense department says to lean up as hard as I can... better to do that while being wrong about economic doom than to do its antonym.
It is a like manner way of being frustrated at remodeling our house... danged if you do and danged if you don't, only WORSER! .....being this way is a direct result of socialist assaults against my pledge to our flag when I was a little ornery boy. That little boy's still there in me... and wants to "out ornery" the Socialists wrestling against the love our Founding Fathers did for me. So we should use the strength of that love against their unjust hate.
2thmann - On the threshold of retirement.
Unfortunately, we are among the generation that is intent on destroying the tenets of freedom and liberty that were hammered out in that long hot summer by our Founding Fathers, and Obama is leading the charge. In six months we have run blindly into the Marxist Dreams of dystopia and consigned ourselves and future generations to oppressive taxation that will eventually be nothing more than Communism. A thugocracy on the Chicago model has replaced our imperfect but functioning form of a Democratic Republic. When individuals of dubious integrity realize power, control, and wealth, the corruption can be complete, and thus devastating. To insure longevity these weak and vulnerable politicians tend to appease and cater to an ever increasing demographic of the welfare or entitled substratum of society. Consequently, a system of wealth redistribution is fabricated that penalizes the producers for the benefit of non-producers. This system predicates an eventual cataclysmic breakdown and upheaval; for why do producers care to work so hard to reward those who cannot, or choose not, to work? The system is doomed to failure; it's only a matter of time.
I've spent a lifetime working. My retirement is within months. Because my retirement income will put me in the wage group that is destined to support this new system of Acorn's Enlightenment, I choose not to participate. In other words, my retirement and I will be leaving the U.S. Let me assure you, I am not the only person in my situation planning to leave this Marxist Dystopia. For Obama to assume that I want to support the future Army of Acorn and the new legions of Community Organizers is ludicrous. I refuse to participate. Soon it may be difficult to find people to tax in order to support those who are looking for the free ride.
Irene Flick - Public school teacher in Hawaii
Thanks to Obamanomics killing the once-thriving American tourism industry after His negative comments about the shame of flying to Las Vegas and other convention-holding destinations, and due to the terrible uncertainty in the future with people losing their jobs upon the closing of so many private businesses, the number one industry in my state is in a very tenuous position. People are not only losing their jobs in the tourist Industry, but also in construction, real estate, and retail - about every aspect of our economy is slowly becoming devastated.
As a public school teacher in Hawaii, we work for the state, and revenue from the tourism industry was a major contributor in funding the schools. The Republican governor is trying to deal with a multi-billion dollar shortfall on revenues due to the major drop in tourism by furloughing state workers three days a month for the next two years. She hopes she does not have to do the same to the teachers. Obamanomics hits everyone, not just the private sector, and the government workers here continue to think that they are immune from harm.
Obama's purported birth here caused over 73% of the voters to cast their ballots for Him, and they want some protection for it, lousy economy be damned.
Matthew-Quigley - Cowboy, New Mexico, USA
As I look out over the beauty of the New Mexico desert, with its sagebrush, pinion and deep blue skies, I can't help but feel a bit depressed. Now, it would be a fair question to ask why anyone would be depressed at being able to live and work in such beauty... in a land that's a cowboy's dream. Well, my friends, there is one BIG reason, and his name is Barry Hussein Soetoro, aka Barak Hussein Obama. New Mexico is a largely rural state that is dominated by three very statist urban areas: Santa Fe (arts and croissants crowd and government employees), Albuquerue (Sandia National Labs and lots of illegals) and Las Cruces (illegals). Those statist urban areas have turned a strongly Conservative state into a bastion of leftist freakiness which overwhelms the tough self-reliance of the ranchers, cowboys and Navajo people of the less populous rural areas.
The Bureau of Land Management, one time friend to ranchers, has become an enemy to cattlemen and sheepherders. One example is the Obama BLM's featherbrained push to reintroduce predators into the Ch'ooshgai Mountains. This is part of the Department of the Interior's efforts to bring back predator populations in agricultural areas. Those of you in Wyoming and Montana will remember with disgust their program to bring back wolves in ranchlands, and on a ranch stocked with Angus and Hereford, bringing back wolves is sheer eastern elite stupidity. Combine that dimwitted idea with increases in grazing fees and water rights restrictions, and in effect, BLM under Obama is driving people out of ranching. Do I think that it's a deliberate move? Well, in Santa Fe I saw a little hybrid car with a bumper sticker that read "Cattle Free New Mexico" next to "Obama '08," and you bet I think it's a deliberate move on Barry's part.
Obama's energy policies are causing gas prices to go up (try crossing a county that's 160 miles north to south on gas that runs $2.69 to $2.72 a gallon... it ain't cheap), and you can't haul horses with a clown car!
Hussein's actions have made life in the rural southwest a LOT harder and WAY more expensive. But he'd better face one fact: Rural folks are tough, and won't be fooled again. While I know of several Navajo who voted for Hussein, those folks are also fuming at him. So are the white ranchers in this area. We WILL fight back against Hussein's plans to socialize us and increase the poverty and dependence upon government that is too common here. This is one New Mexico cowboy who plans to do all he can to fight for freedom. And Barry, you can take THAT to your local government-run bank
Michele Mitchell - Retired receptionist/secretary in Arizona
I have metastasized breast cancer. I have thought long and hard about how the nationalization of the U.S. health care system (Obama Care) would affect me personally. I began by looking back through the lens of history to see how other programs the government has taken over have worked. Did they succeed at what they were designed to do? Do we still have poverty even though we have had a war on poverty? Are Social Security, Welfare, Medicare and Medicaid programs solvent or are they going to go broke in the coming years? If the government cannot even get Medicare and Medicaid costs under control, how would they handle the nationalization of our whole health care system?
During a New York Times interview President Obma stated that, "the chronically ill and the elderly represent 80% of American healthcare costs.... and that's why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance." These are code words for rationing the healthcare of Americans. No longer will medical decisions be made by the patient and their doctor; they will be determined by some bureaucrat in Washington. In the same interview President Obama said that he would pay out-of-pocket medical costs if a member of his family needed a procedure that was not covered by the federal plan. It's nice that he would be able to afford this, as many Americans can not!
Americans need to go back to the philosophy of believing in the free-market system, as this is what has made America great. Once a government program is put in place it becomes like a weed that cannot be controlled. If nationalization of our health-care system is allowed to take root there will have to be rationing, as the program will become unsustainable without it. I worry about the debt that future generations will experience because of this ill-conceived government takeover of our healthcare system.
megapotamus -Law librarian field researcher
I live in Atlanta where I worked for sixteen years as the field librarian for the biggest law firm in the South, until this March at which time I was laid off. Usually, it seemed that economic turmoil did not reach the 41st floor of my law firm, but the moneymen foresaw many of their debts going uncollected from Chrysler and GM, among others. Yes, it's easy to feel secure when your employers are consistently billing out $500 an hour or more, but there proved to be a significant gulf between billing the time out and collecting the money in.
The mongered rumors and the coincidental timing indicate that the bankruptcies in the auto industry that, as it happened, were NOT avoided by the government takeover of half of that industry, and the prospect of millions in already worked hours not being paid, forced the firm into layoffs. I hold no grudge against the firm, certainly, and there are some lessons to be learned. I am certain that the upper management is firmly Democratic, though they would resist being tarred as Lefties. But above all, these guys and gals are long-term strategic operators. They see their future and have decided that it does not include any but the most vital of outlays. In the meantime, I have been flogging my services to the legal industry generally hoping to do as a contractor what I was doing in my comfortable sinecure with mixed success but going forward, what with law and regulation reaching into every crevice of our existence there may be yet greater demand. Here's hoping....
Hitchhiker - Car dealership management, Lawton, Oklahoma
Impacts I've seen personally since Obama took office include the revocation of the dealer franchise for three local car dealers. The Chevy, Chrysler, and Dodge dealers have all been informed they are on their own. Our local Aubrey Chevrolet has until Oct 2010. The other two were simply told they were done. Good luck getting rid of your inventory of autos and parts. You are no longer an authorized repair facility. I can no longer get any warranty work done on Dodge and Chrysler automobiles without going to Oklahoma City or Wichita Falls, Texas.
I don't expect it to last too long. Lawton has the lowest unemployment in the nation thanks to BRAC * and Fort Sill. We are growing quickly. I really haven't been impacted personally yet, but it's only a matter of time before current policies begin to take effect and trickle down to the rest of the country and the world. Even used auto sales are down due to the recession and fear. We are doing fine here thanks to soldiers coming back home from overseas, and as well as the air defense artillery school being moved from Fort Bliss to Fort Sill. I've heard from a couple of auto lenders that closed shop a year ago and are planning to start buying paper again.
*BRAC: Base Realignment and Closure Plan. "A possible of influx of new residents when a projected 10,000 to 15,000 people are reassigned to Fort Sill in Lawton in the coming years." TimesRecordNews, Witchita Falls Online
Paul Vincent Zecchino - Owner, Milspec Communications, Englewood, Florida
Did you sense it as this nation blew callously past another dire waypoint on the Road to Perdition? How did American citizens who not long ago cheered the collapse of the Berlin Wall devolve to obtuse, lard-glutted drones who strap their big fat carcasses into comfy sofas and squander a weekend drooling over cheaszy media mourn-a-thons for a drug-addicted, gnat-voiced, anorectic has-been who sensibly croaked before his mob backers had to buy off additional pedophile plaintiffs?
But, as late night TV ads say, "There's More!!!" Why yes, there is. Didn't the recent weekend tear-jerk, as if by design, distract from a tax hike which likely will rob millions of jobs, wealth, liberty, and homes?
Isn't it unprecedented that real people must now cough up hard-earned trillions for sham-fixes to a non-existent problem? Does it remind you of the late Guillermo Cabrera Infante's observation that even Castro's supporters sensed something gravely wrong when "Castro's courts sentenced innocent citizens to real punishments for imaginary crimes?"
Did the inane cheaszebag media circus distract from the 'devious, deviant, demonic Sangerite agenda' of the so-called 'health plan'? Have you heard from friends and talk radio callers who even now report having already been denied life-sustaining treatments? We have. And shortly, so will you. And then it likely will get worse, won't it?
Didn't south Florida citizens hear Castro's radio announcers gibbering feverishly about 'zelaya', 'atchafalaya', - just plain 'liar'? - the chavista-stooge who tried to grab Honduras? Twenty years ago, President Reagan, without a shot fired, helped rout communists from Honduras, Poland, and many other nations, many of which shortly became stable and prosperous.
But don't we who've long known the left, keenly realize that joyous events without fail arouse the ire of these sour, humorless, death-loving, hate-filled Marxists? Honduras and Poland, free and prosperous? The left simply can't abide that, can it? Honduran courts correctly noted that a Castro shower bud violated the Constitution. They lawfully directed the military to arrest him. It did. End of story. Hondurans loathe Communism. Most normal people do. But apparently, some in this country, middle-aged spoiled brats born of wealth generally, still worship it. Isn't it easy to sense something's gone gravely wrong? Trust in God. Trust your instincts only slightly less, after all, didn't The Creator give us instincts to aid in our survival?
Errands yesterday. Normally bustling office supply store had an unsettling amount of signs on the sidewalk advertising come-hither 'specials'. Albeit subtle, one couldn't miss the scent of desperation. A building supply store's uncharacteristic calm eerily complemented by few customers, fewer salespersons. Roads, normally busy with summer visitors from Florida's east coast, were not. Overarching all, an unshakeable sense that another shoe drop is imminent. Friends who normally play talk radio in their shops still do. But now they cut the volume when unfamiliar customers enter. Instinct says they may become 'offended'. You know the rest of that.
Those of us who see things as they are get our news from talk radio, the net, and yes, even those fabled "Voices of Hate on Shortwave." We regularly trade with one another Pravda's recent observation that our country is in freefall to Marxism even as the majority becomes increasingly oblivious to it. Many cut spending drastically and are stocking up on supplies. Many say they've just had it. Had it up to here. In no mood to brook any quarter. Draw your own conclusions.
Our Creator's qualities are Love, Justice, Wisdom, and Power. Will He tolerate the unprecedented earth-wide tauntings of those who fancy themselves as gods? There's no evidence to support that premise, is there? Will The Giddy soon challenge God's sovereignty? Time will tell, won't it?
Stuart Williamson - Retired west coast marketing executive
Post-election Obama impacts? Not all that much. I haven't lost my job, but then I'm retired and didn't have one anyway. I'd already lost close to half my retirement assets, which I can't blame on one total nonentity of a Senator. As long as Denny's or IHOP don't get taken over by the government, my wife and I will get one square meal a day. And I've got enough single malt scotch laid in to carry me, at a wee dram per day, through to 2012. So, I'm cool.
Except that I am outraged, filled with foreboding and a sense of impending doom, and furious with frustration at the twittering, and dithering, and whisker pulling, and ass-scratching, and chicken entrails gazing, aimless, rudderless, leaderless, futile Chinese fire drill of the GOP and conservatives in general. And with the mindless drivel of the commentary on "threads." It would be fair to say that he has made me a lot crabbier... and gabbier. Because he has energized me! So I write. I am nothing but a bunny hut - he's my battery and I'm ready to beat my drum and march. Only, so far, nobody's leading the parade.
Few public events in my life have stirred me as much as Obama's election. I have to ask, "How can any American thinker, with or without a capital T, fail to have been jolted by a sense of pending disaster, of facing a crisis unlike any previous change of administration in our history, of a grim realization that all we hold dear is being placed in jeopardy? Why are there so few Limbaughs, Hannitys, Palins in the Commenariat? Why are they disparaged by the "right"?
Why the pussy-footing, the reluctance to utter the word SOCIALIST in the face of overt, Alinsky-inspired radical Leninism? Are we just to lie down before the juggernaut? Why is there no fire in the bellies of the lawyers, the foundations, the non-profit organizations, the artists, the actors, the "journalists" who would be the first to fall under the heel of Statists and Fascists? Have they no knowledge of the history of Socialist nations? The GOP, the RNC are hopeless, sinecure-filled, so bureaucratic they are more sclerotic than the State Department. They couldn't lead a horse to water, but they could drive any honest conservative to drink. Why are they fixated on "resolving party issues"?
Keep them out of the Parade! Make them sit in the bleachers. The leaders are going to emerge from middle America, the gut-feeling believers in our Exceptionalism, in the inviolability of our Constitution and its Amendments, and the unique spirit of freedom of speech and enterprise, and the capitalist system that, warts and all, has brought us greater achievement, both materially and socially, than any people in human history, and made us the model that the rest of world follows, even while deriding us.
Since his election, Obama has made me increasingly, almost daily, aware of the threat his administration represents to our heritage and the survival of our unique Republic. We cannot let it happen, and we need to start NOW. Full press. That's how he has affected me. It feels good.