Ever since former President Barack Obama gave his speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Friday, there has been unending coverage of the outrageous claims he made regarding the Trump administration.
Maybe that’s because it was such an appalling slap in the face to presidential protocol for this former president to comment on the succeeding administration. It’s just not done.
Or maybe it’s because his comments were so jam-packed with half-truths that there’s a mountain-load to unpack.
It may be interesting to mention that Obama was at the university to receive an “ethics in government award” when he made his unethical and unorthodox comments.
Additionally, as a retired president, you might think that when addressing college students Obama would have a message of hope and optimism for the future – their futures. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
When listening to the tone of this speech you definitely get the feeling there is an agenda afoot and it’s all about diminishing anything that even vaguely resembles American exceptionalism.
The former president did his best to try to dim the bright lights of the Trump administration’s prosperous economy and other successes. I wonder if he refers to them as America’s “darker” aspects because Trump has been so effective in reversing Obama’s declared agenda of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” — into something most of us would not recognize.
During his Illinois speech, Obama expained, “Of course, there’s always been another, darker aspect to America’s story.
“Progress doesn’t just move in a straight line. There’s a reason why progress hasn’t been easy and why throughout our history every two steps forward seems to sometimes produce one step back.
“Each time we painstakingly pull ourselves closer to our founding ideals, that all of us are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, the ideals that say every child should have opportunity and every man and woman in this country who’s willing to work hard should be able to find a job and support a family and pursue their small piece of the American dream, ideals that say we have a collective responsibility to care for the sick and the infirm and that and we have a responsibility to conserve the amazing bounty, the natural resources of this country and of this planet for future generations — each time we’ve gotten closer to those ideals, somebody, somewhere has pushed back.
“The status quo pushes back. Sometimes the backlash comes from people who are genuinely, if wrongly, fearful of change.
“More often, it’s manufactured by the powerful and the privileged who want to keep us divided and keep us angry and keep us cynical because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and keep their privilege. And you happen to be coming of age during one of those moments.
“It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years, a fear and anger that’s rooted in our past but it’s also born out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.”
I don’t remember President Obama espousing founding principles at all when he wanted to fundamentally transform America.
It’s sad to the point of almost being tragic that a a former America president strayed, during his time in office, so far afield toward ideas of socialism to promote government-controlled healthcare, government-regulated private business and extracting higher taxes from hard-working Americans.
It’s sad that he now bastardizes the founding principles in such a way as to suggest his administration revered them and used them as a roadmap to lead the country to independence and prosperity.
And perhaps it’s saddest of all that he would stand before an audience of young college students and suggest the idea that America’s story is now dark, hopeless, angry, cynical because the Trump administration has abandoned Obama’s agenda to lead us into socialism.
America’s history is not perfect, but for its duration there has always been a light that illuminated the core values that has kept us a free people. While I believe President Obama tried to dim that light during his administration, he could not then, and I don’t believe he can dim it now.
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