My thoughts on the presidential election: Barack Obama was never the problem. And getting rid of him was never the solution.
Mitt Romney was never going to save America. You and I are.
For further explanation, here’s an essay I wrote shortly after the 2008 election, and which I published in my book, Uncommon Sense. It’s more relevant than ever:
Obama is here to Stay
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” –Barack Obama
The presidential election has come and gone. I, like so many others, have ached for a different result.
How I long for statesmen and stateswomen who understand the proper role of government.
How I wish we had leaders who knew the difference between a republic and a democracy and acted on that knowledge with courage.
But we don’t. Not enough of them, anyway. So what should we do about it?
We can fight the President-Elect. We can dig deeper into the trench of opposition in a fierce effort to bring Obama down.
Judging by the amount of anti-Obama emails and videos I still see circulating rampantly, many are attempting to do just that. Freedom-lovers are striving to raise awareness and illuminate the flaws of Obama’s thinking and policies.
America, drowning in apathy, needs this fresh breath of passion. I wonder, though, if this passion could be better spent. I don’t say this because I think I’m uniquely qualified to pass judgment on people acting from conscience — I’m not. I don’t say this because I wish to discourage patriots from fighting the good fight — I surely don’t.
I say this because of a simple conviction I hold dear, borne of my own recurring mistakes. Stephen Covey articulated my conviction well when he wrote, “Any time you think the problem is ‘out there,’ that very thought is the problem.”
Every time I see faults in others, every time I try to “fix” people, my efforts are broken as I fall into the disturbing crack of my own faults. Every time I spend time and effort on things beyond my control, the things within my control lay fallow from neglect.
This conviction has illuminated something to me, which is that Barack Obama isn’t the problem. And neither is getting rid of him the solution.
Obama Isn’t the Problem
Obama is the product of a society which has forgotten its heritage. We can no more blame him for the election and America’s decline than we can blame a child for being born.
A child results when a man and a woman join in reproduction. The seed of Obama was planted when American citizens began “[valuing] their privileges above their principles,” to quote President Eisenhower.
We’re only harvesting what we ourselves planted. We’ve given birth to the illegitimate children of selfishness, apathy, and forgetfulness.
Obama isn’t to blame. We the People have only ourselves to blame. As my friend Thomas Dyches frequently says, “We the People. We the problem. We the solution.”
And if Obama isn’t to blame, then it will do little good to get rid of him — he’ll simply be replaced by someone as bad, if not worse.
So What Should We Do?
First and foremost, we must shift our focus away from things beyond our control and toward the things within our control. Sir Thomas Browne wrote, “We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.”
By the same token, we carry within us the flaws we see without us.
We must stop trying to tear down and get rid of Barack Obama. Rather, we must tear down the walls of our own faults and eliminate our own fear, anger, selfishness, ignorance, and apathy.
We must do things that are much harder than political activism. These things are hard not because of difficulty and physical effort, but because they’re seemingly not as obvious and pressing as politics and elections. They’re hard not because they’re hard to do, but because they’re hard to see.
“Despite a hectic and challenging world…we are today in a relative era of calm…Arguably, the most important things we can and must DO in the calm before the storm is to prepare. Secondly, no type of preparation is more important than character and knowledge preparation—both of which are impacted by reading, writing, discussing and studying. Reading, studying, writing and discussing is doing something. At certain times in history, it is the most important thing.”
The rise in our education and dedication will be accompanied by a decline in misguided politicians and bureaucrats. We can only eliminate the wrong leaders by becoming the right leaders ourselves.
We as individuals have very little control over who gets elected. But we have ultimate control over how we spend our time and how we prepare for leadership.
Barack Obama isn’t going anywhere. So what are we going to do about it?