We wish to convey to all of our readers and the staff at the Spokesman Recorder all the best for a bright future. Our last column of 2013 ended with “We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who proved a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites.”
In this first column of 2014, we celebrate another Black man, Barack Obama, who has moved beyond proving that a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites; he proves that a Black man can be president of the most powerful country in history. Although some say President Barack Obama is a lame duck president, a failure with no legacy, we disagree.
“Lame duck” is shorthand by ivory tower public policy academics who don’t get out from behind their lecterns but still think they should be in charge. For example, President Obama has succeeded with health care where all, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, failed (Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter each wrote in their last books that Ted, for his own purposes killed health care under both Nixon and Carter). We don’t know what the final shape of heath care will be, but it will be, and it will be his legacy.
The president shares everyone’s dream: a free, democratic, prosperous society for all. Disagreements are over how to achieve this shared dream, whether through centralized influence or federalist processes including states/cities/neighborhoods. Required is compromising forward, engaging “the politics of moderation,” and “making haste slowly” to allow for the peaceful inclusion of diversity. Those opposed to diversity are tyrants.
Nelson Mandela fought for a South Africa constitution modeled on ours. Too many in the world today, left and right, want to dispense with our constitution. If we spent more time ensuring the survival of institutions of democracy and our First Amendment’s protections (minorities of religion, speech, press, gathering, redress of grievances), minorities would not have to worry. That is the true sense of compassion and caring that is needed by our democratic institutions that President Obama brings to the conversation.
Too many of both parties’ self-defined “betters” are committed to the failure and nullification of those they define as “lessers.” This column continues to subscribe to the doctrine that there are more of us who believe in what is right, who believe in compassion, who believe in humility, who believe in opportunity, than those who are opposed to those doctrines because of ugly visions and devious motivations (such as racism and opposition to diversity).
The elections of 2014 will reflect voters rolling up their sleeves to support our institutions of democracy and dreams of liberty. We are a good nation with great institutions and goals of freedom and liberty (history reflects this). We have good people with achievable dreams. President Obama is committed to this. It is in that spirit that this column encourages all Americans to work to achieve fairness, justice and inclusion, to allow the least, the youngest, and the compassionate to see success on the horizon.
We live in a city of Scandinavians who brought the spirit of Martin Luther and the Reformation’s sense of renewal, new beginnings, and second chances. When will the Lutherans of this city stand up for their consciences and Luther’s “no ruler” (secular or religions) perspective, and aid our new mayor and new city council to finally achieve true diversity and inclusion?
I stand with President Barack Obama as he declares at each speech’s end: “God bless the United States of America.”