Over the past week, a few videos have come out, purporting to show the “indoctrination” of children into Obama’s “personality cult,” along with the slow slide into tyranny that inevitably follows. This, of course, is the latest in the GOP’s brilliant strategy of freaking out over their own shadow. It’d be funny, if it weren’t so insulting to actual victims of tyranny, and in such marked contrast to the Republican Party’s behavior over the previous ten years. Let’s compare, shall we?
The following are, according to the loudest voices on the right, sure signs of emergent dictatorship:
- Children singing about the President’s accomplishments, as a part of celebrating Black History Month;
- A community organizing group, in admittedly poor taste, asking the President to “hear [them],” in such a way as to sound like the Lord’s Prayer, if you’re really, really looking for it;
- An address to schoolchildren, by the President, telling them to stay in school;
- NEA employees talking about funding art to inspire discussion of prominent national issues, and;
- A school using Obama’s story to promote education, national service, and diversity (guess which one worried WND most?).
Most of these are prime examples of truly tacky encomium — really, guys, stop, all politics aside — but their sins all derive from style, not substance. In the school videos especially, the message is one of unity, and draws its power from the President’s identity as the first black president, not from his politics. The latter might be scary. But it’s just not there.
In contrast, here are examples of increasing state power which, though not tyrannic, ought to have worried these sudden proponents of limited government, but didn’t:
- Warrantless wiretapping that exceeded FISA allowances by tapping purely domestic calls, done without even a semblance of an effort to work with Congress,
- The assertion that habeas corpus applies where the President says it applies — excluding even American citizens, should the mood strike him;
- Official flirtation with the idea of using soldiers as stateside police, on American soil, in flagrant violation of 100+ year old law;
- State inspection of library borrowing records, in the name of “national security”;
- Sending prisoners abroad, for the sole purpose of seeing them tortured and their information delivered here (“extraordinary rendition”), and, of course, the kicker;
- Lying to the American people about the motivations towards, and likely costs of, a major war. No link needed.
Note that the first two links go to articles here, about how Obama has improved upon but not yet solved some of the imperial excesses of the Bush administration. Those concerned about tyranny would do best to start there, before worrying about what kids are singing.