The Wall Street Journal released a poll over the weekend showing, in stark relief, how the values of individual Americans have changed in 25 years. Many pundits have written this week on the implications for the survival of a nation that no longer views itself as exceptional, a society in which most people don’t believe in a higher power beyond themselves, and a world in which the ideas of community involvement and having children no longer inspire citizens to do something larger than their individual concerns.
Make no mistake: this decline in American values has its roots in a lot of bad ideas over several decades but really gained its full flower in the Obama generation. We now inhabit a nation almost a full generation removed from the famous campaign promise from President Barack Hussein Obama, on Oct. 30, 2008: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America!”
It’s downright painful to compare the America of today to the USA of Sept. 12, 2001, but this is a reckoning every patriot must face head-on. Vodkapundit had a great take on this in his column yesterday, “Is GenX the Last Generation of Americans?“
COVID and the resulting state-sponsored fracturing of American civility seems to have accelerated the trend lines. Lockdowns vs. liberty, masks vs. faces, mandates vs. adult choices, public educators vs. everybody — if there weren’t two Americas before March 2020, it certainly feels now like there are at least that many.
Absolutely spot-on. The state-sponsored fracturing of American civility (among other civic values) accelerated the trend lines — but those trend lines have deeper roots. We simply noticed them more starkly in the pandemic crisis and our insane response to it. There remains no doubt, however, that we have taken divergent paths.
Indeed, the pandemic panic and willful suspension of constitutionally guaranteed natural rights could not have happened without Obamaism having replaced Americanism as our defining national trait.
Contrary to the (duplicitous) Clinton declaration of the end of big government, Obamaism ushered in every deleterious effect of Big Government that we see today. Of course, some things got their start in the Bush administration, like the expansion of the surveillance state in the War on Terror and TARP. Thank goodness the Patriot Act could never be weaponized against American citizens, amirite?
So what has Obamaism wrought?
The weaponization of Big Government against domestic political opponents: ✅
The suspension of individual liberties under the pretense of a national emergency: ✅
The expansion of government intervention into private health care decisions: ✅
The ever-advancing erosion of the family unit: ✅
The reliance on government over individual responsibility for most decisions in one’s daily life: ✅
The decline of belief in American exceptionalism: ✅
Undermining American sovereignty in the name of equity, globalism, and the interests of illegal aliens: ✅
The notion that government has rights and that they exceed those of the individual citizen: ✅
Since the ’80s, we have lurched as a nation between two ever-widening extremes. Bush 41, a moderate Republican, broke his promise about new taxes, so we elected a dope-smoking hippie pederast to replace him. Bush 43, a moderate Republican, eked out a narrow victory over a wooden environmental extremist whose wife wanted to ban speech (rock lyrics) she didn’t like, and then in response to two unpopular wars, we elected a complete unknown. Obama had been a senator for only two years with almost no voting record in the state legislature prior to that.
This is where things get weird.
Despite his rather thin resume, he told us exactly what he wanted to do. Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder exposed him as a radical Marxist. He told us he wanted to fundamentally transform America, while the introduction of social media and cell phone surveillance proceeded to make America a much more anxious and narcissistic society. He told us the notion of our belief in American exceptionalism was equivalent to British exceptionalism or Greek exceptionalism. Obama exploded the size of government, ran up the public debt to unpayable heights, ruined health care, and sicced the IRS on his political opponents.
Paul Kengor wrote in an op-ed in 2017 at the National Catholic Registry:
But now here we are, at the end of Obama’s two-term presidency, and the question begs to be pondered: Did Barack Obama fundamentally transform the United States of America, as he promised?
The answer is absolutely Yes.
That fundamental transformation, however, has not happened in areas where many might have hoped (or feared) in 2008. It has not been a fundamental shift in the attitudes of the vast majority regarding the role of government, taxation, regulations, economics, education or even health care, where Obama had his signature legislative achievement. It hasn’t happened in foreign policy, though Obama has made a seriously detrimental impact in regions from Eastern Europe to the Middle East.
The reality is that the true fundamental transformation has been in the realm of culture, notably in matters of sexual orientation, marriage and family. The shift there has been unprecedented and far beyond anyone’s imagination eight years ago.
Looking back, I think that was where Obama’s heart was, and that was where his deepest impact will be felt. Changes there, more than anywhere, seem irreversible by anything other than the miraculous, than anything short of a religious revival or dramatic shift in spiritual-moral thinking.
Obama’s cultural revolution on the sexual-gender-family front is all around us.
With six years’ worth of perspective since Kengor wrote this, it seems that he sells that fundamental transformation a bit short. He expresses laudatory concern over the cultural transformations that sprung from the Obama regime, and we’ve seen the rotten fruit of this slippery slope in the gender madness that has infected the educational industrial complex. In his dismissal of the fundamental changes in government, taxation, regulations, economics, education, health care, and foreign policy, he fails to acknowledge the stark contrast between pre-Obama America and the mess we saw ourselves in after he left office.
Related: America Has Become a Nation of Ellsworth Tooheys
To put it plainly, none of the catastrophic Biden administration failures could have come to fruition without the seeds planted by Obama. Had Biden been elected in, say, 2004 instead of 2020, he could never have corralled the political will of his administration, Congress, and a large enough swath of the American people to perpetrate what he has.
Obama’s massive expansion of the public debt, the scope of government, the reliance of citizens on governmental interventions, and community organizing as a political force, created the conditions in which Biden could carry out a third Obama term and expand on his goals. Oh, we had a temporary reprieve in 2016, lurching back to a personality who expressed love for America in a way that deeply contrasted with Obama’s public perception.
That four-year pause under Trump succeeded in unleashing the productive power of the American economy and unprecedented foreign policy wins, but in many ways, we still didn’t realize the full scope of the war for our nation’s soul. On top of that, it came at a heavy cost. Despite Republican promises and control of Congress and the White House, they failed to repeal Obamacare. Regulations saw a massive reduction, but the scope of the federal government did not.
Trump exposed the depths of the rot in our institutions when the FBI went after him over the made-up Russian collusion hoax, but we could not extricate the nation from the yoke of federal tyranny. Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court led to society-shifting decisions on abortion, gun rights, and religious liberty, but his executive actions got reversed on Day One of the Biden regime. We cut taxes but expanded the debt in the name of the pandemic.
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So we lurched from Obama to Trump to the current mess that is Biden, all in a space of 15 years. We elected a cognitively declining, elderly compulsive liar with no gravitas and no ability to lead as President in 2020. Biden will undoubtedly go down as the worst president in American history, but it would never have happened without Obamaism.
An oxymoron has resulted. After the messy 2020 election, the pandemic tyranny, and the revelation of radicalism in the education of our youth, the expansion of the government in every aspect of daily life has ushered in a new form of desperate but semi-voluntary fascism. As a nation, we no longer trust or believe in our governmental or societal institutions, but we increasingly look to them for solutions. Too many Americans don’t object when the government and Big Tech collude to suppress wrongthink.
The merging of government and industry is the hallmark of fascism, and we seem to be fine with it because, on the surface, it looks like we’re back to normal after the pandemic lockdowns. We’ve advanced from deeply narcissistic to schizophrenic as a society. Too many Americans desperately want to trust and believe in the institutions, but we have too much evidence of their utter rot and failure.
Related: Joe Biden Has Always Been a Compulsive Liar
Ask yourself: Do you still consider the American president to be the leader of the free world? Hard to believe, when he targets political opponents for imprisonment, abuses the power of the IRS to investigate normal citizens over their political opinions, mortgages our future for an inexplicable expansion of untenable spending today, destroys national sovereignty with the willful undermining of border security, and projects weakness on the international stage.
As Vodkapundit pointed out in his column, the trend lines don’t look all that hot. And we don’t seem to have the will to reverse the trends that have become deeply embedded in our national identity over the course of a couple of generations.
We don’t even believe in ourselves anymore. This is what Obamaism has wrought. Now, the poll numbers bear it out.