Accepting Obama’s ‘Change’ Premise

by FRANK SALVATO August 29, 2008

Having established that "change" can be both good and bad, both productive and destructive; I have come to the conclusion that Barack Obama is right: our country is in great need of "change." Now before you God and gun clinging, fly-over state inhabiting political infidels lock and load and take aim at the space between my eyes, I would ask that you hear me out. There's a good chance you will either like what I have to say or find merit in my line of thinking.

Having dedicated myself to consuming the experience that was the 2008 Democrat National Convention, I did indeed come to the conclusion that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the contingent that descended upon the city of Denver had one thing correct, our nation is in desperate need of change. We have allowed our political process to be hijacked and in doing so have abdicated our right to expect good government.

Whether organizational, corporate or ideological, special interest groups have taken complete control over each and every one of our governmental institutions. 527 groups, lobbyists and public action committees - in conjunction with an agenda-driven mainstream media derelict in its obligation to inform the American public of the facts - have employed the manipulation of the truth and the allure of the almighty dollar to persuade both citizen and elected official. The environmental lobby has coerced the elected class to such an extent that the mere mention of utilizing our own natural resources is met with personal attacks and demonization.

Corporations and their lobbyists have abdicated any semblance of civic responsibility and national allegiance in their quest for "the highest dividends possible for their investors," taking advantage of those who stand in their defense when criticized; those who understand the benefits of responsible capitalism. And our political system has been captured at it highest ranks in both major parties by those who would slate candidates because of their "chances of "winning" over candidates who stand up for principle, duty, honor and country.

Indeed, Mr. Obama has hit on something that I can agree with him on, we need change. As I see it we are in need of change in three specific areas: 1) Our tolerance for the lack of truth from the media and the politically opportune; 2) Our propensity for abandoning civic responsibility; 3) Our need to re-establish a connection with the core principles.

Our Tolerance for the Lack of Truth

Listening to the speakers at the 2008 Democrat National Convention, it was easy to pick off the statements that were sincere and the ones that were politically opportune. This task became even easier when listening to the pundits and "prophets" of the mainstream media yawn and fawn over that which was said. In the end, the statements recognized as politically opportune grossly outnumbered the statements that were sincere.

A perfect example of just how disingenuous our political and media operatives have become comes in the form of the answers given to the question of duplicity where primary campaign rhetoric is concerned.

Both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are featured in John McCain ads declaring that Barack Obama is too inexperienced for the job of President of the United States. Clinton said that all Obama had for experience was his keynote speech at the 2004 DNC and Biden referred to Obama's inexperience by declaring the job of president didn't lend itself to "on the job training." Yet at the convention, both Clinton and Obama gushed over how qualified Barack Obama is for the job.

When anchors and reporters queried the political punditry and the elected class as to why Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden exhibited such contrarian statements regarding Barack Obama's experience and electability their answers were to either justify their hypocrisy by saying Republicans would do the same where McCain was concerned or they simply chalked it up to "politics." At no time did any of those questioned have the courage to answer the question honestly. Such are the cultural infidels with which whose opinions we concern ourselves.

Then there is the transparent and despicable agenda of our mainstream media. From purposefully lying about McCain's statements regarding the longevity of US military forces in Iraq and cherry-picking statements about how many "homes" he owns, to the actual reasons given for deposing Saddam Hussein's murderous regime in the first place, the mainstream media is both so incredibly bias toward the Progressive-Left ideology and subservient to the ratings game that divining any information of worth from their wares is virtually impossible. To clarify:

  • McCain referenced the existence of US military operatives in Germany, Japan and South Korea after each related conflict and said he could imagine the same for Iraq...not a hundred year war, a presence in conjunction with an alliance.
  • McCain wanted to make sure he was accurate in his answer to the number of properties his family owns because there is a foundation involved that includes investment properties.
  • The first and most serious reason given for toppling Saddam Hussein's tyranny was the genocide of the Iraqi Kurds, not the existence of "stockpiles of WMD." In fact, in President Bush's September 12, 2002 speech before the UN General Assembly there is no mention of "stockpiles," rather he alluded to the development systems in place for WMD. It was, in fact, the media and the politically opportune who re-invented the reasoning as being "stockpiles of WMD."

Taking into consideration these few examples, it is clear that We the People have become uninterested in the quest for truth. In our apathy we have allowed out governmental system to be corrupted by privateers, opportunists and thieves.

We need to change this.

Our Propensity for Abandoning Civic Responsibility 

While we like to pretend that we all care about our country, our everyday actions prove the majority of Americans would put themselves before country, themselves before community. It is because we are apathetic to our responsibility to be good citizens that our country suffers at the hands of the aforementioned privateers, opportunists and thieves.

The Founders and Framers created the Charters of Freedom with the idea that each and every US Citizen would understand their ownership of those documents and their responsibility to protect and guard those documents - in essence, government - from the tyranny of wicked. It was for this reason that they created a system that empowered the citizenry, then the states and then the federal government. The power, our Founders and Framers intended, was to be with the people, then the states and then - and only then - the federal government. Face it, the Constitution begins with "We the People, in order to form a more perfect union..." not "We the Government, in order to establish a more perfect union..."

In our abdication of governmental oversight, in our tolerance to our elected officials and media presenting untruths and semi-truths as facts and realities, in the absence of our disdain for the narcissism of special interests, we are the ones responsible for the state of our nation, not the privateers or special interests, not the opportunistic elected class; we are responsible for the state of our country.

We need to change this.

Re-Establishing a Connection with the Core Principles 

In listening to the intellectual pabulum emanating from the 2008 DNC I was struck with the notion that next week, in Minneapolis, I may just be subjected to more of the same only from another vantage point. In all honesty - and that is what is demanded here - we are going to hear the same quality of overblown celebratory rhetoric from people who, it can be argued, are just as politically opportunistic as their counterparts on the Left.

This prospect led me to agree with pollster Frank Luntz, when he opined that John McCain should dispense with his acceptance speech and, instead, initiate an impromptu town hall meeting in an effort to dispense with the status quo by embracing realism. He should truly strive to be the leader of a nation of people, of constituents, not the leader of a nation constituted exclusively of political partisans.

The notion of quid pro quo also led me to examine the founding platform of the Republican Party, the platform of the Republican 1860 convention. Then it occurred to me, if the Republican Party wants to appeal to real Americans, true Americans, if they want to adhere to their founding principles, then they have to shed the special interest issues from the national platform.

Many among the Conservative movement will take issue with this idea but the fact remains, if the Republican Party wants to adhere to the two most notable tenets of its original (read founding) platform - limited government and limited taxation - then they must shift from enlisting government to legislate special interest provisions and start engaging their communities in order to shape the consensus regarding these issues, a consensus agreed upon without governmental interference. Community engagement and education on the issues using facts must become the vehicle for change and catalyst for a renewed civic responsibility.

As it stands now, Republicans are just as guilty of acquiescing to the expansion and encroachment of government into our individual lives as are the Democrats. Because of this, the American people are, increasingly, seeing little difference between the two political parties.

Republicans must make a change in the way they approach politics and government. They must strike out on a bold new initiative to re-establish themselves as a party of good government over politics in embracing the platform that encompassed their founding principles:

  • Civic Virtue and Engagement
  • Individual Responsibility
  • Adherence to the Charters of Freedom
  • States Rights
  • Economic Responsibility
  • Limited Taxation
  • The Sovereignty of Personal Property
  • Sound Immigration Policy
  • Dedication to the Country's Infrastructure
  • Opposition to Discrimination
  • Opposition to Aristocracy
  • Opposition to Corruption

In rededicating themselves to their core principles they can effectively embrace all avenues of society under the ideological big tent that holds these tenets as sacrosanct. In establishing these tenets, exclusively, the Republican Party can become inclusive to all avenues of thought simply by encouraging the notion of civic virtue and engagement and individual responsibility. By encouraging the individual to affect change through community engagement rather than through legislative mandate while securing the right of the individual to do so the Republican Party can rise as the phoenix from the ashes of their disgraceful 2006 election defeat to a position of strength and integrity.

Change for the benefit of the politically opportune or the ideologue or the privateer is change that can only benefit the few. Change, if done for the benefit of the country's well-being can only benefit us all. Contributing Editor Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. Feedback:

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