The Magic of Words

Since the Democrat convention of 2004, we have been have been subject to what many have called the brilliance of Senator Barack Obama. Let me say here, that I believe that statement is debatable. I am not a fan or a supporter of the Senator. I do not think he is the best candidate for president, in fact I do not think he is even a good candidate. To be sure, I am in the minority, if you take into consideration the media coverage, as well as the number of people voting for him in the primaries. The reasons for my opposition are important only to me, so I will not list them. What is important here are the reasons many people have chosen too listen to Mr. Obama’ rhetoric and support the vision he publicizes for our nation.

Words have meaning, and when a person of Mr. Obama’ intellect speaks, it is clear he chooses his words very carefully. The average person will only hear the words, never listen for the actual meaning and absolutely never listen for what is not being said. Senator Obama uses words like; hope, change, unity and our future, to invoke images a brighter tomorrow for the United States. He speaks eloquently of bringing the country together, ending division and strife, and he invites the people to assist him on this quest. All they need do is elect him president and the rest will follow as surely as night follows day, so it would seem.

Phrases like, “Together we can change the country and change the world” sound inspiring. However, the question is how and to what end? No one seems to understand that simply being elected would be a change from what the country and the world is used to from America. Beyond that, Mr. Obama is free from acting on any of the visions he evokes in the eyes of his followers. Change is a word in and of itself. It means nothing without the extension of what the change will be, how it will come about and what it will ultimately mean. Change and hope are meaningless without plans to implement the intended, or hoped for changes.

Beyond the words which Senator Obama uses too craft motivating speeches, we need to know what lay beneath them.

What is definitive about hope for our future or change from the status quo? People can hope for different things, good or bad. Change for the sake of change is a fifty-fifty proposition. Even changing from pessimism to optimism can have negative effects. Using words and language well is a great benefit, but even evil men are capable of that.

What needs to be asked of Senator Obama is how hope, in and of itself is substantive. How does it revive the economy? How does it end gang violence? When will hope improve the degree of education our children receive in public schools. Will hope bring an end to the twisted agenda of the NEA and the indoctrination of our children into the failed multicultural teachings of current academia? Can hope open the minds of the environmental left, and allow us to drill for our own oil and bring the price of fuel down? Is hope the answer to ending the Jihad that Islam has waged for so many years? Could it be that hope is all we have needed to rid ourselves of the obese government that suffocates us and return us to the small, limited government our founding fathers established.

The recurrent theme of hope in the lexicon of Senator Obama, seems to quiet the concerns of many about the future of the United States. It would appear that just having hope is enough to settle all debts. Just having hope is enough to create jobs, cure environmental ills, lower prices, increase pay and quite possibly make the world love America again. I certainly don’t think so, but I have heard that Mr. Obama is a cure-all for whatever ails you.

For Senator Obama, it seems that hope is his answer to everything. If you ask me, it seems quite audacious to suggest that hope is the answer this country is seeking. After all, what presidential candidate ever ran that did not have hope for something. The Senators message is not new, it is not ground breaking ,but for too many people it is phenomenal in it’s simplicity. Listening to many of the Obama faithful, I get the impression that the word hope turned on a light for them. It is as if they had never known the word before, and having heard it they are now transformed.

The real story for me is the way Senator Obama has learned to use words so effectively. In a prepared speech he has no equal in this current election cycle, not since the withdrawal of Mitt Romney. The craft of public speaking is not well practiced by most of the politicians currently serving, in Washington and our State houses. During many interviews and press conferences, we are treated to colloquial references and slang. Much of it used in what ought to be serious statements. Mr. Obama speaks eloquently, with fluid transitions between subjects and Ideas. Carefully addressing the expectations of his audience, while never really giving much away.

Bill Clinton had a way with words also. He made drastic statements about the direction of our country and how he would change things. His famous statement “I just think its time for a change” brought rousing cheers from thousands. But when he failed to effect the changes he promised, he excused his failure by saying he “had never worked so hard in his life”, and yet he failed. But at least he gave some answers to the question ‘change what?’, before he was elected.

The most glaring example of how Barack Obama uses words to hide his real intent, is by omitting words from his answers. In a recent news item I heard on the radio, the Senator responded to a question about a scriptural reference someone made. In his response, he said that the Sermon on the Mount had more meaning to his faith than some obscure passage in the book of Romans.

Two things here. As a Christian who studies the word of God, I know of no obscure scriptures in the Bible. In fact, in 2 Timothy 3:16, scripture says; “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” , and unless I missed something, it means there is nothing obscure about any of it. Barack may not have studied the book of Romans, and the passage may be obscure to him, but that is not the same as just being obscure. Mr. Obama did not qualify his statement, so I cannot be taking it out of context.

Secondly, “my faith” is oblique enough to mean anything. He claims to be a practicing Christian so most assume that he is referring to the Christian faith. But if that was so, why not say it. No Christian I know is afraid to boldly state that they are Christians. We say things like; as a Christian I believe Christ gave His life for me, or, Bible study is important to my Christian walk. It should not be assumed that because the Sermon on the Mount was given by Christ, any reference to it would mean Christian faith. Thousands of people like some of the things Christ taught, but reject Christianity as a whole. For me, the Senators reluctance is troubling.

Please don’t think for a minute about the argument that he does not want to push his beliefs on others, respecting that many people are uncomfortable with politicians that are open about their Christian beliefs. If people accept his claim of Christianity, they should expect that he will express it.

It seems a simple matter to give substantive and coherent answers to the questions people ask about what he means when he says change. And yet Senator Obama is adept at avoiding it. When asked why he does not wear a flag lapel pin, as other law makers do in support of our troops, his answer is that he can show his patriotism in other ways. What other ways?

The flag is older than the republic. It was not created to commemorate our founding, it preceded it. The flag was the guide-on that every citizen soldier looked for as the symbol of the freedom he was fighting for. The flag is not the banner of a political party, ideology or persuasion. It does not represent our government, it represents the nation, the people. You cannot get more patriotic. Too many people believe that the flag is an substitute for the president; it is not. Insulting the flag insults every American. From the first shot fired in revolution too the private patrolling the streets of Bagdad. From Lewis and Clark too the second grade teacher at the school down the street. It matters not if you agree with an administrations policies, the flag has nothing to do with it.

For me, a refusal to display or salute the flag says something about a person, that I for one find suspect; a man who claims to support this country and wants to lead it, should not be ashamed of the flag that is the very symbol of the freedoms that allow him the privilege to seek the presidency.

Barack Obama’ magic works best on people who are idealists, not fully informed or those who are just happy to see a new face finally breaking the monotony. I spoke with a neighbor of mine one day about a month ago. She is an elderly woman and devout Christian, she always has kind word or something encouraging to say. We began our conversation with the current state of the economy and the cost of living. After a few brief statements about how bleak things seemed to be, she announced that she would be voting for Barack Obama because he was going to change things. I found that a bit amusing, and I asked her why she would do that. She answered, “because he said he would change things and get us out of Iraq, we never should have gone there, and it would be nice to have the first black president.” I asked her if she could tell me any of the things Obama would change, and how he planed to do it. She said that she could not remember anything specific, but she believed he would do them. I don’t understand how anyone can believe someone will change things, when they have no idea what, when or how that change is supposed to occur.

As I stated previously just being elected would be change, everything else can continue as before and Mr. Obama will have fulfilled his promise in total. The simple fact is, every 4 years we have change because we elect a president, even if re-elected, cabinet posts change effectively answering the question to the letter of the word. Of course, what people expect from our next president is change of a different kind, more specific and refined. And yet Senator Obama has yet to answer that challenge.

As I see it, the biggest problem is the electorate. The candidates are creatures of habit, they will always use what worked before; promise everything without saying anything and you have to give up nothing. If people were more informed and in tune with our government, no politician would be able to lie their way into power.

What is missing is an understanding of the how and why we have a separation of powers. Public knowledge of the powers and limitations of the office of the president would change the way campaigns are run. A man on the street poll about the division of powers in our government would more than likely result in eighty percent or more failing to answer correctly. Politicians know this, and they act accordingly. Barack Obama knows this, can anyone blame him for utilizing it to his advantage? It does seem out of place, coming from the candidate that refers to himself as the unifier.

Honesty was supposed to be what set Barack apart from his contemporaries. He stood for change, the future, hope and a brighter tomorrow. However, if his words are parsed and examined, removing the countless qualifiers in all of his public speeches, what is left is a vacuous collection of words that have no substance. Empty words make empty promises, yet it seems he will make them without end. His hope is that no one will notice.

It needs to be said that the timing of his candidacy has much to do with his appeal and the blind acceptance of every word he speaks. The low approval of President Bush just seems to say to Barack that there should follow a President Obama. His careful choice of words and the structure and cadence of his speech, moves many to join in praising him as the only choice for president. He promises things that a president cannot accomplish singularly, but people expect him to come through. Maybe he believes the democrats will control both houses of congress, and that will give him the edge, but I doubt that; the entrenched members in the legislature are in it for the long haul. Presidents come and go every four to eight years, Senators and Congressmen want as many years as the voters will allow; 20 or more if they can swing it. The only way they can do that is to ensure that they get credit for anything the people think is good. Allowing the president too take credit undermines their power.

Barack may very well believe he is the exception, transcending the endemic conscience of our governmental process to rise above his predecessors. Fat chance. The separation of powers will ensure that those who hold the purse strings of the nation, will protect their hold on that purse. The real change Barack will experience is the fact that his words will be powerless on those who honed their craft of cynicism and dissembling long before he came to Washington in 2006.

This last week has been very interesting. Several video recordings of Barack’ pastor, Jeremiah Wright, have been discovered by news agencies. In the video recordings, which were purchased directly from the church, Pastor Wright goes on a tirade against the U.S.. He says many things about the history of the U.S. and goes so far as to call us the U. S. of KKK. He claims that we invented the AIDS virus, started the crack cocaine epidemic, support state terrorism in other parts of the world, and attempted genocide on blacks because we hate black people. It is certain that he has been saying these things for some time, and yet Mr. Obama denies having ever heard pastor Wright do so. Mr. Obama’ denials are not very convincing, unless of course you are one of his adherents.

Reverend Wright announced to his congregation that he figured out why people are “hatin” on Obama. He said it is because “he ain’t white, he ain’t rich and he ain’t privileged.” well 1 out of 3 is a loss in paper rock scissors, so you loose Mr. Wright. Barack is not all white, so you have that, but he is earning more than $400,000.00 per year together with his wife, and by the standards of his own democrat party, that makes him rich. And excuse me, but when you are raised in the upper middle class of Honolulu, can attend a private school where tuitions at that time were more than $5,000.00 per year, and follow that up with Harvard; you are most assuredly privileged. The reverend Wright is so taken with his rhetoric, he neglected to note these facts. And for clarification, I am of mixed race, was born and raised in Hawaii, as were both my parents, my siblings, and my grandmothers and their families back to the original Hawaiians. My maternal grandfather was from New Zealand, and my paternal grandfather was from Georgia. I graduated about four years before Barack, but my high school is only 3 miles from his, so I know the place and the people he grew up around, more importantly, I know the environment he grew up in. I know that my views were shaped by that experience, and because of this, I could never follow the line of thought that has brought Barack to the kind of church he attends, or the implied conclusions of his view of America and his place in it.

Barack wrote a book titled ‘The Audacity of Hope’, I have not read it, but I have heard some people say it was a good read. However it has an interesting title, when you consider that he has the audacity too expect us to believe that he can attend a church for twenty years, get married there, baptize his children there and yet not know the kinds of things being preached from the pulpit in that church. It seems he has the audacity to hope that we will. But it only gets worse with the knowledge that Pastor Wright is a close confidant of the Obama’s. Barack’ own description of his close relationship with his pastor, the fact that he claims minister Wright as his mentor and spiritual adviser is testimony that he could not have been in the dark about the things that reside in the heart of his mentor. The visceral nature of the tirade is such that I will not repeat it, but the fact that this man can have such hatred for this country and still call himself a citizen of it is difficult to accept.

Beyond the foolish denials of Barack Obama, I wonder how a father can expose his children to the kind of hateful teachings of Jeremiah Wright. A spiritual adviser is expected to teach things like; respect, harmony, morality and virtue. At least it is what I would expect for my family, but then I cannot speak for anyone else.

How do you tell your children that you are the shining example of what a mixed race minority person can become, and allow them to hear that they will be oppressed, held down and kept away from any personal success or fulfillment. How are they supposed to reconcile your rise to prominence in the communities of this country, regardless of color, with the racially bigoted expectation that they will not be excepted in any of those communities where the color of their skin does not blend. It is my firm belief that it is only in this church that his precious young daughters are told, that because they are black they can never be accepted in America. It is hard to imagine what is more bigoted: a white person who is ignorant of your value as a black person, or a black person ignorant of the same thing.

My father never let his skin color stop him from moving in any direction he chose to, likewise he never let me think that way either. And oh by the way, my father was a Pentecostal minister up to his death in 1990. No one in his congregation ever heard him utter a defeatist word, or speak of anything but personal responsibility in all things.

The real capper on this episode in the campaign of Barack Obama is a speech he gave in an effort to clean up the mess created by the exposing of the leader of his Church. It was well crafted, suitably worded and delivered with confidence. It was also a complete farce. Every sentence only reinforced my understanding of the kind of man Barack Obama really is. He pulled out his magic bag of words and presto, the world was supposed to be right again. The problem is that we could see the wires in this act of prestidigitation.

Barack attempted to be introspective and conciliatory, while at the same time he defended his continued position as understudy to Jeremiah Wright. He tried to expose the failings in his church, but the caveat is that it all stems from a simmering anger that began when slavery was legal in the land. The worst, and the most telling statement in my opinion, concerned his grandmother. Barack claimed that he could no more disown his pastor than he could the black community or his white grandmother. He interjected that his grandmother confessed to him that she sometimes feared walking the streets if black men were present, and sometimes used racial stereotypes that made him cringe. Why single out his grandmother? And why is the black community so important to him, when fully half of his genetic make up is white. He will not dismiss his grandmother, racial bigotry aside, but the white community can be kicked to the curb without a second thought. Again, here is an example of word magic. He admits to black missteps, but excuses them because of the history of blacks in this country. He embraces the white half of himself, ever so lightly I might add, and then throws in that that half is racist.

He closed his speech by saying that if people don’t elect him nothing will change. He implies that only he, Barack Hussein Obama, has the power, knowledge, compassion, fortitude and skill, to bring peace to this world and unity among the nations. Well I for one am not subscribing to this tawdry series.

Barack can hope that some will have faith in his vision of the future, but I have seen behind the curtain, and just as in OZ, I am supposed to ignore the man behind it. Not a chance of that, I want everyone to know that man with the well spoken words is not much more than smoke and mirrors.

The Magic of Words


LasVegas, United States

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