Barack Obama in the Twelve-Step Program

If Barack Obama and the liberal left entered Alcoholics Anonymous because they had a drinking problem, they'd have zero chance of getting sober.  They would progress through the early and middle stages of alcoholism, suffering from blackouts, personality disintegration, and withdrawal.  After continued denial that their own behavior and decisions were affecting the quality and manageability of their lives, they would enter the late stages of the disease, develop full-blown medical complications, and drop dead.

The New York Times would write a front-page story blaming the Republicans for the tragedy, detailing how corporate greed removed the safety net that would have eventually gotten everyone sober.  Warren Buffett would chime in about the super-rich not paying enough taxes and how this adversely affected the government-run social programs established to treat people with addictions. 

True recovering alcoholics, of course, understand that money has little to do with recovery.  Working the Twelve Steps of AA doesn't involve the government or taxpayer subsidies.  In other words, you could spend $10 billion -- or $10 trillion, for that matter -- on getting someone sober, but if that person hasn't completed Step 1 and still denies that he has a problem, nothing will happen; he will drink himself to death without ever recovering.

After decades of social programs and trillions of dollars spent on entitlements, liberals still aren't even on Step 1.  Neither is President Obama; the problems affecting society are always, without exception, somebody else's fault.  His message of "Hope and Change" fundamentally misunderstands what hope and change truly are.  In Obama's mind, hope and change are things that come from the outside, things that the government or a new social order can provide for people.  The fact that the wealth gap in the United States continues to get bigger proves this reasoning is false.

When Obama speaks of change, he means systematic change, not personal change.  He wants to rebuild America into a socialistic state -- where citizens rise only to the lowest common denominator, where wealth and success are demonized and complacency and government dependence are incentivized.  Besides guaranteeing financial ruin and the country's economic collapse, this will do nothing to empower struggling Americans or improve their quality of life.  Obama's promise of "change" in reality is the antithesis of transformation; it is about enabling those who make poor decisions to better maintain their lifestyle and as a result perpetuates a multitude of social ills.

Tragically, this is what a number of Americans want.  Change is quite traumatic for many people, especially the poor.  At an organic level, there is a process at work in human beings called homeostasis -- the tendency of an organism or cell to maintain balance and equilibrium by adjusting itself through a physiological process.  Put another way, homeostasis is an innate, biological resistance to change.  This may explain why the poor tend to resist change at all costs, fighting against the gentrification of their crumbling neighborhoods, protesting the reconstitution of their failing schools.  Or why they rail against voter identification laws.  Instead of working to acquire an ID card and get up to speed with 21 st-century society, the underprivileged protest that such a task is too daunting and violates a person's constitutional rights.

Interestingly, when David Axelrod coined Barack Obama's cleverly worded slogan "Hope and Change," it suggested genuine intrinsic transformation and empowerment.  It promised a means of helping lifelong passengers subsisting on welfare entitlements finally become captains of their own ships.  This sounded good to the gullible independent swing-voters interested in social justice.  The problem is that by nature, the passive are terrified of becoming active.  Those who have viewed themselves as being acted upon their entire lives have the darnedest time suddenly becoming the ones doing the acting.

Obama, a community organizer by trade, understands this.  His idea of change is clearly extrinsic -- the radical redistribution of wealth and power within the system.  But on an individual level, passengers will still remain passengers, and drivers will still be drivers.  The only kind of "change" a passenger gets under Obama is a change in quantity -- or, simply stated, more stuff.  More free rides for longer durations, bigger buses with more government regulations placed on drivers.  Once the money runs out, however, the jig is up.  Once America's number of passengers overwhelms the drivers, the system will collapse.  The buses will break down, and drivers will riot, and then the Unites States will be reduced to the status of Greece and Italy.

This is the kind of "change" an antiestablishment, anti-American liberal secretly hopes for: to bring our longtime successful nation, powered by personal responsibility, to its knees so it can be blown up once and for all.  And from the ashes will rise a new, progressive, pluralistic utopia, where perpetual motion machines, manufactured by green government agencies, are possible.  Where automobiles run on algae and everything is free for the taking.  Or so goes the socialist's Grand Delusion.  The only problem, of course, is that the drivers will still be drivers, and the passengers will still be passengers; the active will still do the acting, and the passive will still be acted upon.     

Being "active," for the record, doesn't mean activism.  Active change involves a person directly changing the unwanted situation or circumstance.  For example, if you want a job, you update your resume and, while you're waiting for an interview, pay the bills by working any available position to make ends meet.  If you want to get rid of your student loans, you consolidate your finances and work out a personal budget.  If you want to empower the poor and bring about social justice, you volunteer your time working with the less fortunate, teaching them how to navigate the paperwork involved in filling out job or school applications, or showing them the steps involved in acquiring a government ID.

Getting "active" under the principles of movements such as Occupy work more like this: if you want a job, you stop traffic and protest against banks and the richest one percent.  If you want to get rid of your student loans, you circulate a petition to have the government give you amnesty.  If you want to help the poor and bring social justice, you go on a march and call anyone who opposes your philosophy a racist and an out-of-touch opportunist.   

Someday, if America continues down this destructive path, our country may very well experience a financial and economic collapse.  The Bill Ayerses of the world will rejoice, as will the disciples of Paulo Freire.  But America won't be down for long.  From the ashes will rise not a Marxist state, but a new nation, one led by individuals motivated by intrinsic transformation -- society's drivers -- those who embrace Step 1 on the path to recovery and live by the motto that true hope and change start from within.     

Christopher Paslay is a frequent contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and the author of The Village Proposal.  His blog, "Chalk and Talk," is at http://chalkandtalk.wordpress.com.

If Barack Obama and the liberal left entered Alcoholics Anonymous because they had a drinking problem, they'd have zero chance of getting sober.  They would progress through the early and middle stages of alcoholism, suffering from blackouts, personality disintegration, and withdrawal.  After continued denial that their own behavior and decisions were affecting the quality and manageability of their lives, they would enter the late stages of the disease, develop full-blown medical complications, and drop dead.

The New York Times would write a front-page story blaming the Republicans for the tragedy, detailing how corporate greed removed the safety net that would have eventually gotten everyone sober.  Warren Buffett would chime in about the super-rich not paying enough taxes and how this adversely affected the government-run social programs established to treat people with addictions. 

True recovering alcoholics, of course, understand that money has little to do with recovery.  Working the Twelve Steps of AA doesn't involve the government or taxpayer subsidies.  In other words, you could spend $10 billion -- or $10 trillion, for that matter -- on getting someone sober, but if that person hasn't completed Step 1 and still denies that he has a problem, nothing will happen; he will drink himself to death without ever recovering.

After decades of social programs and trillions of dollars spent on entitlements, liberals still aren't even on Step 1.  Neither is President Obama; the problems affecting society are always, without exception, somebody else's fault.  His message of "Hope and Change" fundamentally misunderstands what hope and change truly are.  In Obama's mind, hope and change are things that come from the outside, things that the government or a new social order can provide for people.  The fact that the wealth gap in the United States continues to get bigger proves this reasoning is false.

When Obama speaks of change, he means systematic change, not personal change.  He wants to rebuild America into a socialistic state -- where citizens rise only to the lowest common denominator, where wealth and success are demonized and complacency and government dependence are incentivized.  Besides guaranteeing financial ruin and the country's economic collapse, this will do nothing to empower struggling Americans or improve their quality of life.  Obama's promise of "change" in reality is the antithesis of transformation; it is about enabling those who make poor decisions to better maintain their lifestyle and as a result perpetuates a multitude of social ills.

Tragically, this is what a number of Americans want.  Change is quite traumatic for many people, especially the poor.  At an organic level, there is a process at work in human beings called homeostasis -- the tendency of an organism or cell to maintain balance and equilibrium by adjusting itself through a physiological process.  Put another way, homeostasis is an innate, biological resistance to change.  This may explain why the poor tend to resist change at all costs, fighting against the gentrification of their crumbling neighborhoods, protesting the reconstitution of their failing schools.  Or why they rail against voter identification laws.  Instead of working to acquire an ID card and get up to speed with 21 st-century society, the underprivileged protest that such a task is too daunting and violates a person's constitutional rights.

Interestingly, when David Axelrod coined Barack Obama's cleverly worded slogan "Hope and Change," it suggested genuine intrinsic transformation and empowerment.  It promised a means of helping lifelong passengers subsisting on welfare entitlements finally become captains of their own ships.  This sounded good to the gullible independent swing-voters interested in social justice.  The problem is that by nature, the passive are terrified of becoming active.  Those who have viewed themselves as being acted upon their entire lives have the darnedest time suddenly becoming the ones doing the acting.

Obama, a community organizer by trade, understands this.  His idea of change is clearly extrinsic -- the radical redistribution of wealth and power within the system.  But on an individual level, passengers will still remain passengers, and drivers will still be drivers.  The only kind of "change" a passenger gets under Obama is a change in quantity -- or, simply stated, more stuff.  More free rides for longer durations, bigger buses with more government regulations placed on drivers.  Once the money runs out, however, the jig is up.  Once America's number of passengers overwhelms the drivers, the system will collapse.  The buses will break down, and drivers will riot, and then the Unites States will be reduced to the status of Greece and Italy.

This is the kind of "change" an antiestablishment, anti-American liberal secretly hopes for: to bring our longtime successful nation, powered by personal responsibility, to its knees so it can be blown up once and for all.  And from the ashes will rise a new, progressive, pluralistic utopia, where perpetual motion machines, manufactured by green government agencies, are possible.  Where automobiles run on algae and everything is free for the taking.  Or so goes the socialist's Grand Delusion.  The only problem, of course, is that the drivers will still be drivers, and the passengers will still be passengers; the active will still do the acting, and the passive will still be acted upon.     

Being "active," for the record, doesn't mean activism.  Active change involves a person directly changing the unwanted situation or circumstance.  For example, if you want a job, you update your resume and, while you're waiting for an interview, pay the bills by working any available position to make ends meet.  If you want to get rid of your student loans, you consolidate your finances and work out a personal budget.  If you want to empower the poor and bring about social justice, you volunteer your time working with the less fortunate, teaching them how to navigate the paperwork involved in filling out job or school applications, or showing them the steps involved in acquiring a government ID.

Getting "active" under the principles of movements such as Occupy work more like this: if you want a job, you stop traffic and protest against banks and the richest one percent.  If you want to get rid of your student loans, you circulate a petition to have the government give you amnesty.  If you want to help the poor and bring social justice, you go on a march and call anyone who opposes your philosophy a racist and an out-of-touch opportunist.   

Someday, if America continues down this destructive path, our country may very well experience a financial and economic collapse.  The Bill Ayerses of the world will rejoice, as will the disciples of Paulo Freire.  But America won't be down for long.  From the ashes will rise not a Marxist state, but a new nation, one led by individuals motivated by intrinsic transformation -- society's drivers -- those who embrace Step 1 on the path to recovery and live by the motto that true hope and change start from within.     

Christopher Paslay is a frequent contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and the author of The Village Proposal.  His blog, "Chalk and Talk," is at http://chalkandtalk.wordpress.com.

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