America after Obama
What will the United States of America be like after Barack Obama leaves the presidency on January 20, 2017 (assuming he does leave)?
Five days before the 2008 election, Obama declared he would "fundamentally transform" America. Obama has done much to fulfill that promise since January 20, 2009. If he completes his agenda, the U.S. will be very much like a European-style welfare state.
Obama is not personally responsible for some of the changes in American society that have facilitated the welfare state's growth. Charles Murray (Coming Apart), Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint (Come On People), and Nicholas Eberstadt (A Nation of Takers) focus on different -- albeit complementary -- facets of American society that have deteriorated since 1960. Murray focuses on increasing social dysfunction -- drug addiction, divorce, illegitimacy, single parenthood, etc. -- among (especially working class) whites during the last half-century. Cosby and Poussaint deal with many of the same phenomena among blacks. Eberstadt writes about the growth of dependence on government by a citizenry seemingly more adept at "gaming" the welfare state than they are at the habits of self-reliance that once were the heart of "the American character."
Another changing facet of American society for which Obama, although hardly an innocent bystander, is only tangentially connected, is the growing secularization of our culture. There are many examples of this transformation, such as the on-going "war on Christmas," and secularists' reliance on sympathetic judges to drive Judeo-Christian religions from the public square. The war on religion began long before Obama came on the scene and won't end when he's gone, but Obama and the Obamians have participated in the drive to cleanse America of any vestige of organized religion, except Islam.
Obama is responsible for increasingly polarized and violence-plagued race relations. As a bi-racial presidential candidate in 2007-08, many naïvely believed that Obama's election would soothe racial antagonisms, and possibly even end racial discord.
Obama's post-racial image had begun to unravel even before Election Day 2008. Revelations that he had been a parishioner of the rabidly anti-white preacher Jeremiah Wright necessitated a speech designed to calm fears that Obama harbored dark thoughts about whites. Obama's support for Eric Holder's decision not to prosecute two New Black Panthers for race-based voter intimidation in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008 should have alerted observers that America's racial divisions were not over. His uninformed charge that Cambridge, Massachusetts police acted "stupidly" during the Henry Gates contretemps necessitated the "Beer Summit" in 2009. Any lingering doubts about where Obama's racial loyalties lay should have been erased by his comment that "[i]f I had a son, he would look like Trayvon" after Martin was killed in 2012.
Some believe that race relations are more fraught with the potential for rioting and black-on-white crime that at any time since the wave of riots that scorched and convulsed American cities in the late 1960s.
Other changes that Obama has imposed on America's domestic condition are so well-known that the briefest mention suffices. The central government's power has grown tremendously under Obama. If Obamacare takes effect on January 1, 2014, and Republican elites' fecklessness insures it will, an additional one-sixth of the American economy will come under government control.
Obama may or may not be a socialist, but he certainly is a collectivist. Obamians use regulations and government diktats to impose their will on economic activity and personal lives. If Obama imposes "cap-and-trade," expect the price of anything requiring energy to skyrocket. The entrepreneur who eschews reliance on government is increasingly supplanted by the crony capitalist feeding at the public trough. During his presidency, government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, have been thoroughly politicized.
During Obama's presidency America's national debt has waxed, while Americans' freedom has waned. Once-upon-a-time, Americans were the freest people on earth. Not any longer.
In addition, Obama has substantially enlarged the American "nanny state." Government regulates more and more of our daily lives, and the central authority's control of even minuscule facets of our existence has been greatly expanded. Consider, for example, the Food and Drug Administration's recent decision to ban polyunsaturated fats, claiming they constitute health risks. First, where in the Constitution is the central government given such authority? Second, the scientific evidence for the claim that transfats are harmful is dubious, at best. Remember when we were told that polyunsaturated fats were safe to consume?
Three other changes to America are entirely traceable to Obama. First, there is no longer a manned space program. Second, the American military is being "hollowed out." These developments are connected, and each is a manifestation of Obama's desire to weaken America. One result is that America's position in world politics has been seriously eroded.
America's first manned space program -- Mercury -- was begun in 1959. Ten years later, the U.S. landed astronauts on the Moon and returned them safely to Earth. After the Apollo program ended, Space Shuttle flights continued America's capacity to put humans into orbit. Obama shut down the Space Shuttle program in 2011. Project Constellation was supposed to be NASA's successor to the Space Shuttle, but Obama closed it also.
Now there is no government funded manned space program. The U.S. has to buy seats on Russian rockets to get Americans to and from the Space Station. A primary mission for NASA is now to get Muslims to feel good about themselves.
Obama's decision to close the manned space program and surrender America's lead in space exploration may have dire consequences. (People tend to forget how many technological marvels that are taken for granted originated in the manned space program.)
Obama's decisions to gut U.S. military strength, including deep reductions of our nuclear arsenal, will be disastrous. If all the reductions in the Pentagon's budget -- some required by the Sequester, which originated in the White House, others planned by Obama and the Obamians -- take effect, the United States will have the fewest operational naval vessels since before World War I, the smallest Air Force in history, and an army and Marine Corps no longer capable of fighting prolonged wars.
A corollary of weakened U.S. military capability is that American influence in the international arena is much diminished. Complicating, and further harming, America's reputation as an international force is the Obama Administration's amateurish conduct of foreign policy. One needn't point just to Obama's decision to lead "from behind" during the Libyan Crisis, or the Administration's horrible failures at Benghazi in 2012, or to U.S. waffling during the Syrian civil war. A more recent illustration is the Obama Administration's attempt to cave to the Iranian mullahs' drive to acquire nuclear weaponry, which, thankfully, was foiled by that international powerhouse, France.
So, what will America look like after Obama? Sadly, more like a banana republic than the constitutional republic envisioned by the Framers in 1787. The country will be virtually bankrupt -- our national debt already exceeds our Gross Domestic Product -- and the populace will be at the ruling class' mercy. America's status as a world superpower will be just a memory.
Americans owe it to our progeny to find a better future.