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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 1:57 am | Fair 45º


Randy Alcorn: The Divine Presidency

As buyers' remorse sets in with Obama, the reality is that a president can't fix everything for us

Even among confessed liberals there is some buyers’ remorse about electing Barack Obama president. Liberals are disappointed that after 18 months in office Obama still has our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are also angry that none of the gluttonous Wall Street predators have been sent to the guillotine and their personal fortunes redistributed to the entitled masses.

Randy Alcorn
Randy Alcorn

Independents are also dissatisfied with Obama because it turns out that he cannot command economic fortune or even secure our borders. Snarling Republicans, meanwhile, delight in the president’s declining approval ratings and his failure to be super human.

Of course, Republicans have no supernatural powers either, although they keep frenetically waiving ideological magic wands of free markets, biblical moralities and small government. They dream that there is another Reaganesque godsend among them who can replace Obama and restore America to its lost grandeur.

Interesting that, while they typically rail against big government, many Republicans criticize this Democrat president for failing to be powerful enough to vanquish the vexing problems confronting the nation. It just goes to show that both parties love big government — as long as they are in control of it.

The tenuous economy that continues to linger at the edge of abyss, the unprecedented environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the unaddressed problem of illegal immigration, and the cataclysmic national debt have all combined to undermine that sense of optimism and the can-do attitude that have long characterized America. Americans look with uncertainty to the future. They are worried, angry, and suspicious — increasingly convinced that the economic and political elite have colluded to manipulate the system to ensure that, at the expense of everyone else, wealth and power remain with and continue to accrue disproportionately to the elite.

Their prima facie evidence of this is the tax-funded bailout money paid to banks that then give huge bonuses to their highly paid employees while Congress refuses to extend unemployment benefits to people out of work due to the Great Recession that these same banks precipitated.

In the past, America has confronted and overcome serious threats and huge problems, but the character of the American people today may not be the same as it was when past menaces were faced. Americans once lived closer to the founding principles of this nation, which required citizens to be responsible and self-reliant — the two unavoidable concomitants of freedom.

To the degree that people are dependent on anything their freedom is diminished.

Since the Great Depression, Americans have increasingly entrusted government to solve endemic socio-economic problems, and to protect the population from almost everything — from measles to missiles. Government now even indemnifies citizens against life’s misfortunes or from their own irresponsible and selfish behavior. Build your house in an area of recurrent natural disasters and government will help you replace it when it is destroyed. Have more children than you can afford and government will provide housing, food and medical care for them.

With more dependence on government have come more laws, more bureaucratic regulations, and, therefore, less freedom and more chances to be in violation of something. The ponderously voluminous IRS code is government’s largest, stickiest web that ensnares many citizens. We also suffer the freedom-sapping laws and regulations promulgated under the futile war on drugs and the Bill of Rights-busting war on terrorism. Furthermore, we are subject to the myriad requirements of hundreds of government agencies from whom we need permission slips to groom dogs, cut hair or replace our roofs — all at a fee, of course.

Is it any wonder then that Americans today expect government to fix all their problems and to guarantee them a certain level of prosperity? More and more these expectations focus on the presidency. The current president is expected, without delay, to restore the economy to full employment, plug the massive oil well rupture in the Gulf, stop illegal immigration, reform the banking system, end the Mideast wars, save the environment, pay down the national debt, and provide the nation with unlimited clean energy. Why not demand that he find a cure for cancer while he is at it?

So, do Americans want an emperor? Their persistently unrealistic expectations of their president seem to imply that they do. Can’t you see it? Instead of Caesar we will call our supreme leader Reagan or Roosevelt. He will declare himself divine, make Congress a ceremonial rubber-stamp, and convert the Supreme Court into a historical shrine pretending to honor an obsolete Constitution.

Just think of it, no more congressional gridlock, no more annoying political campaigns conducted by mendacious, venal politicians. Just one person to blame or bless — sort of like what we are doing now.

— Santa Barbara political observer Randy Alcorn can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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