The ghost of John Brown

This was the president that was supposed to bring us together as a country. It has not worked out that way. In fact, if anything we’re more divisive than we have ever been in reference to class, party and race and this can be attributed in large part to the man at the helm. It also bodes very badly for the future of this country. I was teaching in an inner city school in the Bronx N.Y. during Obama’s election and I remember the euphoria that swept through the building when he was elected president. Everyone was high-fiving and wearing Obama buttons and the administrators moved televisions into the auditorium so the entire school could watch the inauguration(something that had never happened before I was told) and there was wild cheering and applause throughout the whole ceremony. I did not join in the celebration. At this point I should explain some of the demographics involved, if you haven’t already guessed them. I was a white guy temporarily transplanted from New Hampshire in a school that was 99% Hispanic and African-American.That should explain the happiness in the general population of the school. But what about my “neutrality”. I maintain that it had nothing to do with skin color or did it. Certainly New Hampshire is a much more racially homogeneous state than the overly diversified population of NYC and in the Bronx I was a minority of 1%.I thought that I was glad that this country had evolved to the point that it would elect an African-American as its leader. So why was I so reserved? Was I racist as my own students had referred to me then just as people are tagged who criticize Obama now . Then it began to hit me. Here I was in a school system where I was required to pass my social studies certification in order to teach and yet my vice principal(who was African-American by the way) who also had to approve my lesson plans had failed his certification at least 6 times. This was a school in which you could walk into an English classroom and see numerous grammar and spelling mistakes on the board. This school was the product of the incompetence fostered by one of the worst policies ever adopted by this country, in my opinion, known as affirmative action. Any system that rewards incompetence is going to end up with an incompetent system and we have done that with our education system . Whoever thought that reparation should be made in the form of creating employment for unqualified people has seriously undermined what should be our striving for excellence. We gave the Native Americans land and rights to casino’s as compensation for our injustices to them. Why didn’t we give the African Americans amusement park licensing or cruise ship waterway rights or even better a toll booth on the George Washington Bridge, as reparations for their mistreatment but instead we changed laws that weakened the very fabric of our society and the principles that it was founded on. Now I know why I was so reserved during the election.It was true that Obama was African-American but beyond that he was also relatively unknown and had very little experience in areas that would qualify him to be president. I was reserving my judgement to see how he would perform in office and that reservation was probably colored by my experience with affirmative action as opposed to the color of someone’s skin but I’m not even sure you can separate the two. In my opinion, affirmative action is promulgating the racial issue in this country rather than assuaging it. I am in favor of a policy of reparatory compensation but I think some other method should be found. Incidentally, I hated the policies of Jimmy Carter and that had nothing to do with the color of his skin. His policies turned out to be a disaster for the country at the time and no one raised the racist card when he was criticized. I have felt that Obama’s policies have been just as disagreeable but the difference is that when you criticize this president you are labelled a racist. One other point on Obama that I can’t quite reconcile, is that the man just doesn’t seem to be “American”. I don’t mean in the sense of his birth certificate and all that birther stuff that I don’t put much stock in anyway but that his perspective is different than someone who is proud of his country and what it means to live here. Maybe this is derived from his experience growing up as an African-American in this country, which might not have been all that great(although it does seem that he has had an exceptionally privileged life) but his actions indicate that he is apologetic for what America has done even to the point of being ashamed. Unfortunately, with America being in the throes of a weak economy this is the wrong time for anyone but a strong pro American leader to take us out of these doldrums, just as it was with Carter. What we need now is a Reagan-essence. The problem is that there doesn’t seem to be one on the horizon in either party. Nevertheless, if this president were to be judged on the merits of his resume, there is no way that he warrants a second term. His record is the worst of any American president since Carter and he should get the same reward as Carter did-rejection at the polls. However as simplified as that may seem, and even though the mantra on the Republican side is that anyone will be better than Obama, this president has many factors still in his favor. This is my take on the next election. It is said that 70% of the country is conservative in its nature. If everyone came out and just voted their natural inclinations, the election would not be in doubt. However let’s just say for argument’s sake that 10% don’t vote their convictions or are afraid of any kind of change-that leaves us at 60%-40% against Obama. The media being highly biased towards the liberal bent has the potential to sway some of the conservative vote(particularly the uninformed constituency) just by its relentless promotion of the Democratic perspective. So let’s say another 10% is coerced over to Obama. That makes the election a 50-50 proposition at this point. Or does it?. Obama may have one more factor in his favor and it is this component that may have the most devastating consequences for this country. Most of us are aware that illegal immigration is a hotly contested issue in this country. Democrats favor entitlements and those who recieve entitlements (illegal immigrants) are likely to vote Democratic. Democratics are trying to make it so that people can vote in the next election without the burden of having to produce identification and this kind of policy would bring the illegal alien vote into play. How is it that the average American can’t take out a library book with some form of ID and yet we want to trivialize what should be one of our most important civic duties such as our right to vote. Why not use the constitution as toilet paper? I contend that with the economic malaise that this country is already in, if this election is hijacked or even perceived to be hijacked in this manner, we are ripening for another civil war . All it will take is another John Brown to ignite the passion that once ran against the institution of slavery and is now coalescing for the preservation of our sovereignty once again, even at the expense of bloodshed. Mark these words.