Last week, I labeled many of you cavemen, citing your unapologetic reliance on violent methods to attain your aims, whether they are of a right or left agenda. I do not withdraw my criticism as it remains true this week as much as it did last week. Nonetheless, I will begin this article with soft, soothing words of compliment, noting credit where credit is due.
Let me point out, for example, that most on the left tend to entertain good and lofty ambitions. Many on the left are happy to claim exclusive ownership of high morals and consider this to be the chief distinction between their party and the right. The right, they believe, is infested with cruel and selfish people, people who love war and scorn the poor. The left enjoys membership of exactly the opposite sort, virtuous people who aspire to peace and take care of their needy neighbors.
I, for one, commend many of the sentiments on the left and certainly prefer them to the boorish belligerence which so frequently retards the higher faculties of neoconservatives. But we all recognize that there is a substantial difference between merely feeling the right thing and actually doing the right thing.
Consider the current president, for example. Here is a politician who worked hard during his campaign to appeal to a country’s better sentiments. He spoke fondly and devotedly of ending the wars in the Middle East, he reminded us all of our nation’s domestic needs, and he brilliantly aroused a sweeping patriotic fervor.
But lately, Obama is exposing himself as a two-faced phony of the most impressive variety, effortlessly displaying one image to the average populace (a message of “change we can believe in”) only to turn to the well-entrenched cronies of D.C. with a starkly contrasted reassurance of “more of the same.”
I recall how, before the election, it was common to hear people get red-faced about the terrible unfairness of spending billions to continue a pointless and unconstitutional war in the Middle East while our education system was in shambles. The contention that it is better to spend money preparing minds than armies has a great deal of resonance with most Americans who believe that the barren dessert sands of the Middle East have already been over-watered with the blood of their sons and daughters.
But where are the efforts to rein in the wars now? I do not condemn anyone for resenting the Bush leadership; there was much to resent. But at one time I actually entertained the false hope that the left’s protests against the Bush policies were about something more important and serious than a petty dislike for a single man. The left raised quite an uproar over the war, and rightly so, but it seems their fuss was mostly directed, not at the horrible and unconstitutional war, but rather at the man who was fighting the war, George Bush.
The left appears disturbingly placated and content now that the former commander in chief has been replaced. But is this complacency justified? Has the war machine been stopped? Has the military industrial complex been surrendered to the grave?
It is regrettable that many on the left have simply decided that since their man was elected, all’s well in the world. But while the left has folded its hands to take a nap, the world is spinning into a bloody and mad chaos.
Remember your affection for Obama when he suggested during his campaign that all the billions wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan could be better spent on education here at home? Of course, you do, that was one of the reasons you voted for him. I hope you are at a least a little surprised and somewhat disturbed to learn that Obama’s war budget is 4 percent larger than that of his predecessor, a whopping $20.4 billion increase.
There’s more unsettling news you may not have heard of, or may have heard but simply ignored. A new surge, the Af-Pak initiative, a commitment of upwards of 21,000 soldiers, is underway. You may recall that a similar movement aroused bitter resentment during Bush’s days. Today, there’s hardly a murmur. It seems that the war machine has magically become a vehicle of peace and goodwill since Obama assumed the wheel.
Who dares to recall any of the high morals the left was preaching only months earlier? By its silence, the left has loudly demonstrated that their primary objective was electing Obama, not making sure that he does the right thing.
Jeremy Hicks is a 2008 political science graduate, the founder of the Cal Poly Libertarian Club and a Mustang Daily political columnist.