It remains to be seen whether or not The Donald will ‘Make America Great Again’; there is still a rhetoric hangover from the race that is making the future hard to predict. Donny J is like marmite, and unlike Marmite I don’t love him, but I want to at least try be remain open minded. He surely can’t be any worse than Barack Obama, whose presidency created the demand for a man like Donald Trump. That is an unpopular opinion to hold here in the UK: 76% of people still view Obama’s administration positively. Not so much in America, where Obama’s approval rating hovers at around 50%.
I’ve never had much time for that miserable Marxist thinker Guy Debord. I will concede, however begrudgingly, that he foresaw almost exactly where politics was headed. In his 1967 work ‘La société du spectacle’, he predicted that the media was becoming, and indeed would become, the most important political player. Through a carefully pruned social media image and importantly a very vocal host of liberal news outlets, Obama has managed to convince the world that he was one of the greatest presidents that ever lived. Cunningly, he has developed a cult following around his charming and slick liberal image. It has served him incredibly well, and for most people outside of America as well as many in America, this image has been far more important than his politics. Here’s a reflection on the happenings of the past eight years that you may have missed.
The US National Debt has almost doubled in the eight years Obama has dwelled in the White House. He added $7.917 trillion, an increase of 68%. He has been relentlessly Keynesian in office, throwing money at stimulus packages and unemployment benefits. That’s all well and good; but the money, as always, has to come from somewhere. It is very easy for us in the UK not to care. It’s not us who will have to pay it off somewhere down the line. Here we are content to listen to Obama’s dreamy speeches about employment and opportunity, doe eyed at his virtue as he spends the US into oblivion, selling future generations into debt slavery. So much for limited government.
For every twenty minutes of Obama’s presidency, he has dropped one bomb. Obama wholeheartedly embraced drone strikes during his presidency, upholding the recently adopted Western tradition of reducing entire countries to ash and hoping that the few people left alive will embrace democracy. Under Obama there has been a total of 563 drone strikes, in comparison to Bush’s 57. Obama’s drone-happy attitude to foreign affairs has officially killed anywhere between 64 and 116 innocents, although some claim that figure to actually be as high as 801. Muslims suffered the overwhelming majority of these deaths. Although no one seems to mentions that. We see Obama as the inclusive vision of immigrant America; nobly embracing the worlds cultures into a melting pot. Trump may say some rude and often out of order things about Muslims, but at least he hasn’t bombed their homelands into oblivion and slaughtered hundreds of innocent Muslims in the name of ‘freedom’. To give Obama credit, it is arguably an achievement to be that violent and hawkish in the most peaceful period of human history to date.
Mass surveillance has run amock under Obama, who once upon a time opposed the Patriot Act. Edward Snowden revealed the dizzying heights of Big Brother in America in 2013, and is still in exile for doing so. On top of that Obama has kept Guantanamo Bay open. He ran on a platform promising to close it and cease the unlawful physical and psychological torture carried out at the facility, away from prying eyes. It doesn’t matter if he waterboards innocent UK citizens illegally however, he was very funny on SNL and the way he talks about his Michelle is just so wonderful, isn’t it?
Impressively, Obama’s mastery of media has allowed him to take credit for all sorts of things over his two terms. The media touts Obama as a reasonable and compassionate man when it comes to gun control. No matter how many times he cried on TV and said ‘never again’, he oversaw a 246% rise in mass shootings. It doesn’t matter whether you think the solution to this is more or less guns; he failed. Of course, it is a complicated situation, but let’s not pretend that he helped in any way. Words are cheap, as they say.
Obama began his terms openly against gays being able to get married. “Marriage is between a man and a woman” he touted on prime-time TV. He did nothing but dishonestly virtue signal his support for Equal Marriage at the federal level, which was ultimately the product of the Obergefell v. Hodges case presented to the Supreme Court. It’s also important to note that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Some people thought he’d bypass congress and legalise it with an Executive order, which he didn’t, despite being happy to bypass congress a grand total of 260 times on other issues. Good effort Barack.
Obama seems wonderful until you look a bit deeper. Ultimately its very convenient for us outside of the Great Republic to support him. He’s friends with celebrities like Beyoncé, which we love. He’s funny, eloquent, cool, slick, approachable, and polite. But he isn’t bombing our cities and making us orphans unjustly. He isn’t threatening the livelihoods of our communities by trying to get rid of coal under the guise of some ideological commitment. He isn’t selling our futures to foreign central banks. We’re not victims of his awful policies: we’ve been conned into loving a monster at the head of a vast governmental machine, and we should all be alarmed by that. We need to stop idolising and start reading. Policy is important.
And so, eight years of a Barack Obama presidency draw to a close. Donald J. Trump, loudmouth businessman turned braggadocios politician, the usurper to the presidential throne; will be sworn in to the most powerful position in the world on Friday. God help America.