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article imageOp-Ed: Obama Stands Alone Without Parallel As Republicans Refuse Support

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 13, 2009 in Politics
Recently the talking heads on television have discussed Barack Obama in comparison with Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Great Depression or Abraham Lincoln when the country was at war. But Obama is in a far more difficult position.
That’s because the world, as the cliché goes, is far more dangerous now than it was at the time of either Roosevelt or Lincoln.
There’s a reason why Obama underlined the fact that the country has more to fear from the economic problems than from terrorism. The fact that the world is so interrelated means that when one shoe drops permanently, the cupboard of shoes might tip over. We are all in the cupboard together and must make decisions that can impact what might help the whole, not the few.
Lincoln had a war, with the country torn apart philosophically, with questions over federalism, with the specter of slavery and the emotions about it, and was vilified by many. The South, and the Republican party that has historically dominated it from time to time, has scarcely moved from the position that small government, by the states, with limited federal involvement, and that rules are made for people and not people made for rules. In other words a Constitution that is not a living document but one that must be held for eternity in its present form just as the Holy Bible should be held. But there is more now to worry than just about the divisions that existed in the South. That’s because the control of those who believe rigidly now hold the fate of the country and much of the world at bay. When some say, “We like it this way, and we won’t change,” which is the typical response to discussion about it, it’s clear with politics, that’s true. One need only look at the political map to see where the most conservative people live.
So Obama faces the same divisions as did Lincoln, but in a more complex world, where the rest of the world is dependent on the decisions that the United States makes. He faces terrorists who look for divisions and internal discord so that more can be festered. He also faces personal risk because of his status as a minority in a world where anger and hatred against minorities exist to the level where assassination is always possible. Like Lincoln, the level of hostility is particularly great in the Deep South, where Obama took only three parishes, for example in Louisiana, and those only where African Americans dominated. Those who use Virginia forget the influx of new residents to the state that has changed its political compass.
Obama also is unlike Roosevelt in that the economy no longer has an agrarian sector of serious consequence nor close-knit families that are interdependent and live relatively close together. Families have broken down far more. Divorce rates are higher. People can no longer return home to the nest when real estate can’t be sold, but wouldn’t know the folks back home anyway. Old folks are stranded and dependent on local governments. All of this happens and means that the foundations for resiliency on an individual basis, of having support at the basic emotional level, are not as they were before. This is why this depression will be worse. Few farm or know how to. Few live near families and lack that support. The social problems can be insurmountable when Johnny comes marching home from the war, as the growth in PTSD has shown.
Name the problem, Obama has it.
John Rickman addresses eloquently in an opinion article why the present stimulus plan is important and the concerns that exist that Republicans aren’t supporting it. At a time when people aren’t spending, a stimulus package is proposed to increase government spending. That is what stimulus is all about—to bring money into a system where folks don’t have it, to small towns, to cities, to individuals, to the rank and file of Americans, to banks that need cash flow and folks who need money to buy and sell homes so that they can move or bring families together or find new jobs through the process.
There is more to the Obama dilemma and much that I don’t know, and likely does anyone else, or there would be clarity in decision-making all over the world. But there isn’t, and each country is experiencing internal wars of political differences.
When Bush wanted war, the Democrats went with him. Obama wants war on the economy, the Republicans retreat.
That inflexible position that stands in the way where ideology tops the general welfare, comes from how many of these folk were taught and where many are from, that is from authoritarian families and from the South, who will be the biggest burden for Obama—far greater than Lincoln or Roosevelt had.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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