What a Difference a Generation Makes
By Doug Patton
February 2, 2009
"Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again."
- Ronald Reagan, from his first inaugural speech
A middle school vice principal told me recently that he could see the thrill and the pride in the faces of his black students as they watched the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. He seemed to think this was a good thing. When asked why a Clarence Thomas or a Bill Cosby were not role models to them, he said that these young people saw Obama in a way they could never see Thomas or Cosby.
"I can't explain it," he told me, "but they just don't consider such people to be 'one of them.' There is a feeling among them that 'Barack's got my back.'"
It made me sad for the future of America. It reminded me of the giddy young black woman on election night who became known as "Peggy the Mooch." Remember her? She was caught on camera saying, "Now I don't have to worry about payin' my mortgage or puttin' gas in my car, 'cause I helped Barack and now he's gonna help me."
At this point it is hard to know the cure, but the symptoms of the disease are everywhere. Our public education system has failed to teach our children the basics of how and why this nation was formed. In fact, it has spent so much time teaching them politically correct but inaccurate information that we now have a generation that knows what to think but not how to think. Consequently, we now have the most ignorant electorate in the history of American elections.
Then there is the media, which has sold its soul to elect Barack Obama president. How else could a rookie backbencher in the Illinois State Legislature springboard to the presidency in four years time?
Ronald Reagan's warning about losing our freedoms echoes down through a generation of lost momentum and squandered opportunity. He handed our generation a chance to hold onto that precious liberty at a time when our spirits were down, our interest rates, inflation and unemployment all were up, and we had a Democrat president overcome by malaise.
The Gipper reminded us of who we were as a people and why we were the greatest country in the history of the world: freedom. He gave us the encouragement we needed to jumpstart a sluggish economy and to bring the United States back to world class status again. He used the heavy hand of government in foreign affairs, but not as an intrusion in our domestic life. Here at home, he got government out of our way. As he said in his first inaugural as president in 1981, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."
Now we stand at the precipice, ready to plunge headlong into the same socialist abyss that has swallowed so much of the world. No one can seriously believe that Barack Obama's plans for this economy are going to succeed. And meanwhile, his radical beliefs with regard to national security, the sanctity of life and traditional marriage threaten what is left of our moral fiber.
Barack Obama is not a good role model for the impressionable young blacks who idolize him so. He is not someone who attained his office based on the premise of Rev. Martin Luther King's dream that one day we would all be judged not by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. His meteoric rise to the pinnacle of power is due entirely to his rhetorical skills, his attractive smile and the color of his skin. He has accomplished nothing that justifies the position he now holds, and his naiveté concerning America fills me with sorrow for the future we all surely will share.
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at email@example.com/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.