August 4, 2010
Happy Birthday, Mr. President
Today, August 4th, is your forty-ninth birthday, Mr. President. You share your special day with the U.S. Coast Guard. When I served in the Coast Guard as a Russian interpreter, I learned this birthday greeting: Sto lyet. May you live a hundred years!
The Coast Guard recently distinguished itself in attacking the BP oil spill. Although a few are grousing about the Coast Guard authorizing the use of chemical dispersants, my guess is that the embattled folks of the Gulf shore are cheering the Coast Guard. They certainly cheered the Guardsmen back at the time of Hurricane Katrina. The Coast Guard is one of the few federal agencies that nobody is mad at.
Birthdays are a good time for self-reflection. You must be wondering how things seem to have gone awry for you and your administration. You came in promising that the oceans would cease to rise, that the planet would begin to heal. You promised this, only to have billions of gallons of oil spilled on your watch. That BP, the perpetrator, was one of the major supporters of your presidential campaign hardly seems fair.
One of the first acts of your administration was to inflame the long and bitter struggle over abortion. You struck down Ronald Reagan's Mexico City policy-the one that prevents any U.S. funds from going to outfits like Planned Parenthood. For the past year and a half, American taxpayers have been forced to subsidize Planned Parenthood worldwide. That organization is the world's biggest trafficker in abortions. It kills more than 350,000 unborn children yearly in this country. It supports the killing of tens of millions of unborn children around the planet.
Bill Kristol, whose late father Irving founded neo-conservatism, is now advising you to take some important steps to avoid a "failed presidency." Bill Kristol cares about your administration and thinks a crippled presidency will be dangerous for us all. Perhaps you don't care what conservatives or neo-conservatives think of your administration.
Still, even the liberal Los Angeles Times is referring to your tenure as "the Velcro Presidency." That has to hurt. You carried California by some three million votes in `08.
You might be able to dismiss Ed Schulz of MSNBC as a left wingnut. We certainly do.
But when he says he won't vote in this election, it indicates that you are beset left and right.
Now, even Democratic candidates are trying to avoid you. The same Gallup poll that shows you at the lowest approval level of your still-young presidency also shows a majority of Americans are pro-life.
You want us to be more open to Africa and Asia. You have urged us not to be arrogant. Could it be that the peoples of Africa and Asia-where approval of the U.S. is also on the slide-realize that offering them more and more abortion is a way to have fewer of them?
President Kennedy spoke eloquently to the peoples in the huts and villages of half the world. They saw in him a champion who cared about them and wanted to improve their lives. Do they see a friend in you when your administration is straining to find ways to export the deadly RU-486 drug to more and more poor countries?
Mr. President, our Founders believed that the right to life is inalienable and that we are endowed with it by our Creator. "The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time," wrote Thomas Jefferson. Benjamin Franklin spoke to the hopes for change in that blissful dawn. When he watched the first manned ascent in a lighter-than-air balloon, he responded to a skeptic in the crowd of 400,000 Frenchmen who questioned the practicality of manned flight: "Of what use is a newborn baby," the most practical man in the world asked.
The fate of millions yet unborn -- George Washington's phrase -- is in your hands, Mr. President. This question is not above your pay grade. Your lethal policies are resulting in a slaughter of innocents around the world. It is for this, I respectfully submit, that you have lost what the Chinese refer to as the Mandate of Heaven.
The Coast Guard recently announced that it had saved one million human lives since 1790. It was a proud moment for all of us who ever served among those lifesavers. That is probably the reason that so many Americans respect the Coast Guard. That announcement highlights the wisdom of the Talmud: "For one who has saved a single life it is as if he has saved the world entire."
Mr. President, it is not too late to turn from death-dealing policies. You still have time to celebrate life. Doesn't everyone deserve a birth day?