One of the problems with the idea of "American exceptionalism" is that it exacerbates a kind of complacency common to man. This is the phenomenon whereby people often view themselves as exceptions -- saying, after some tragedy, for instance, something such as "I never thought it could happen to me."
On a national level -- and this especially plagues great nations -- this manifests itself in the notion that "it" could never happen here. Oh, the "it" could be descent into tyranny, domination by a foreign power, or dissolution. Or maybe it could be the election of a leader who is a Manchurian candidate, a traitor within, someone bent on destroying the nation that gave him everything. That..."it"...couldn't happen here. In fact, the idea is so preposterous to many Americans that if such a threat loomed, they would never see it coming. And they would call a person who warned of it a nut.
So I want to present you with a hypothetical. Let's say a leader were elected who had, during his childhood, been mentored by an avowed Nazi. Let us further say that his guardians had chosen this mentor for him, indicating that they were likely sympathetic to the man's beliefs. Now, let us say that upon reaching college, this future leader gravitated toward Nazi professors. Moreover, we then find out that a man who knew the leader as an undergraduate and was, at the time, a Nazi himself, said that the leader was "in 100-percent total agreement" with his Nazi professors and was a flat-out Nazi who believed in old-style Brownshirt tactics.
Okay, we're almost done. After graduating, the leader-to-be spends twenty years sitting in a white-power church, has an alliance with a self-proclaimed Nazi and ex-terrorist, and, apparently, becomes a member of a National Socialist party for a while. And then, upon being elected, he appoints an avowed Nazi to his administration and also a woman who cites Adolf Hitler as one of her two favorite philosophers. Now here's the million-depreciated-dollar question:
What would be nuttier: to claim that this man was a Nazi or to claim that such an assertion is out-of-bounds?
Furthermore, if people appeared unconcerned about the leader's radical past, what would be the most likely explanation?
A. They're sympathetic to Nazism.
B. They're ignorant of his personal history.
C. They're rationalizing away a frightening reality.
D. Some combination of the above.
Let's now transition to the actual. Here is a fact: If you took the above description of my hypothetical leader and replaced "Nazi" with "communist," "flat-out Nazi" with "flat-out Marxist-Leninist," "Brownshirt tactics" with "communist revolution," "white-power" with "black-power," "National Socialist" with "socialist," and "Adolf Hitler" "with Mao Tse-tung," you would have an accurate description of a leader in power today.
His name is Barack Obama.
We'll start from the top. Obama's childhood mentor was chosen by his guardians, his grandparents, and was avowed communist Frank Marshall Davis. Obama did in fact gravitate toward communist professors in college; moreover, we now know about ex-communist John Drew, a contemporary of Obama's at Occidental College who verifies that Obama was "in 100-percent total agreement" with his communist professors and was a flat-out "Marxist-Leninist" who believed in old-style communist revolution. We also know that upon graduating, Obama spent twenty years in a black-power church, Trinity United of Reverend Jeremiah Wright fame, and had an alliance with self-proclaimed communist and ex-terrorist Bill Ayers. It also appears -- and I have yet to see anyone address and disprove this association -- that Obama was a member of the socialist New Party in Chicago in the 1990s. Then, upon being elected, Obama appointed avowed communist Van Jones to his administration and also Anita Dunn, who cited mass-murderer Mao Tse-tung as one of her two favorite philosophers. There's more, too, but greater detail is hardly necessary.
It also shouldn't be necessary to ask the question, but I will:
What is nuttier: to claim that this man is a communist or to claim that such an assertion is out-of-bounds?
What is the obvious conclusion?
Now, some may say that a person can change markedly over a thirty-year period. This is true. Yet not only do we have the recent evidence of Obama's radical communist appointments, but there's something else as well. It hit me just the other night.
Just as we would demand that our leaders completely reject Nazi ideas, all good Americans should agree that complete rejection of communist ideas is a moral imperative. Losing a little youthful zeal or adding a dose of pragmatism just isn't enough. A pragmatic communist, in fact, could be more dangerous than an old-guard type.
Yet a transition from flat-out "Marxist-Leninist" to someone who rejects the red menace is a pretty big change, don't you think? In fact, wouldn't such a personal evolution -- some might say revolution -- be a kind of conversion? I think so.
Now, many people do experience conversions. I think here of erstwhile radical-leftist David Horowitz; ex-liberals Michael Savage and Robin of Berkeley; and President George W. Bush, who accepted Christ as an adult. And then there's me: I was never a liberal, but I did transition from being a scoffer at religion and an agnostic to a devout Catholic.
There's an interesting thing, however, about conversions.
You hear about them.
You see, a conversion is a sea change, a rebirth, a turning point in your existence. You may become, as Christians say, a new creation, and you're at least a reformed old one. And you reflect your new state of being and often want to voice it.
And those around you will know about it.
As for this writer, everyone who knows me would say that my religious conversion was a seminal point in my life. Horowitz has spoken of his rejection of the "loony left," Bush's conversion is well known, Savage has talked about his on the radio, and Robin of Berkeley can't stop talking about hers. A conversion becomes part of your life narrative.
Now consider something. Barack Obama is one of the most famous, most discussed individuals on the planet.
But we have not heard about any soul-changing conversion in his life.
Not a whisper.
Nothing that could reconcile the flat-out Marxist-Leninist Obama was in his college days with the man he supposedly is today. There's no one who says, "Yeah, he was a radical guy in his youth, and I just couldn't believe how he became disenchanted with his old ideas." There are no stories about a great epiphany, an overseas trip that opened his eyes, or a personal tragedy that inspired growth. There's nothing to explain how a radical Marxist became a reasonable politician. And if there is such an explanation, it's the most elusive of missing links.
So could "it" happen here? And is it really nutty to ask if, just maybe, it already has?