Friday, January 30, 2009

The Remaking of America

There was universal praise for President Barack Obama’s inaugural address as the 44th president of the United States. It may not have soared to the full height of Abraham Lincoln’s first or second inaugural address, or that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s or John F. Kennedy’s, but it was a moving and memorable address that said eloquently what needed to be said to a wounded American people.

Like millions who listened to that speech on television, I was moved by the grace of Obama’s effort to assure peoples around the world that he was determined to lead in the remaking of America into a truer, kinder, gentler and less dangerous nation.

“America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbears and true to our founding documents,” Obama said.

This evoked the immortal words of the American Declaration of Independence of 1776: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Whatever injury others before him had done to those words, Obama would set it right.

“The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry foreward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation, the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness,” Obama said.

This made you hope that, regardless of what you had heard during the pre-election debates, Obama would exert every effort to make sure every unborn American child would have the chance to join the human race.

“And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend to each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.” Obama said.

More reason to hope. Henceforth, poor countries like ours will have to worry only about their real or imagined enemies, no longer about the United States.

“ This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath,” Obama said.

Indeed, it has taken the negro several lifetimes to be called black (which is beautiful) and finally African American, which is politically correct. But the point might have been stronger if the journey had been reckoned from 1857 when the U.S. Supreme Court denied Dred Scott, the negro slave, the right to sue because he was—in the words of Chief Justice Roger Taney-- no more than an “article of merchandise.”

Having rejected as false “the choice between our safety and our ideals,” Obama promptly ordered the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison and the end of torture of captured terrorists. Blessed are the terrorists for they will now have due process. Not so blessed are the unborn children of the developing countries.

On the third day of his avowed remaking of America, Obama reversed Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Mexico City policy which withholds funding from NGOs that promote abortion in developing countries. This had been reversed once by Clinton in 1993, then reinstated by George W. Bush in 2001. Upon its latest reversal, the words of the Declaration of Independence came crashing down, and in their place rose those of Chief Justice Taney declaring Dred Scott a mere article of commerce and Justice Blackmun’s words in Roe v. Wade (1973) declaring that “the fetus is not a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

In the flash of an eye, Obama seems to have given lodgings to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the White House. Dr. Jekyll ends the torture of terrorists; Mr. Hyde pronounces the death sentence on the unborn children of the poor in developing countries. Dr. Jekyll talks of “responsibly leaving Iraq to its people,” and forging the peace in Afghanistan; Mr. Hyde declares all-out war against the unborn.

This can’t possibly remake America into a truer, kinder, gentler and less dangerous nation, a friend to every man, woman and child, One can only hope and pray it does not qualify America for genocide. For under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted on Dec. 9, 1948, one day before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the killing of members of any national, ethnical, racial or religious group, and the imposition of measures intended to prevent births within any such group are classified as genocide.

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