In the fallout from President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address, we hear that he was too aggressive, too liberal, too progressive, too in-your-face, too outrageous, too radical, too partisan and too uncompromising. Some highlights:
Immigration Reform — Partisan, progressive, aggressive? Figuring out how to deal with 11- or 12- or 20 million people who are in this country “illegally” is a partisan, radical, outrageous thing to think about? When did it become a negative to want and need to discuss a really significant issue? It’s a problem that we all share in and the solution should be something we all share in. We can’t send them all home, wherever that might be, and we can’t put them all in jail — for what? Being brought here in violation of our immigration laws at the age of 6?
Human Rights/Civil Rights — Suggesting some kind of universal equality before the law is radical, aggressive, in-your-face? Expecting people to be protected the same by civil authorities in all 50 states and however many American territories is partisan, impossible and too liberal? One could suggest that’s among the bigger no-brainers we should have to deal with.
Gun Violence/Reduction thereof — Well that’s just crazy. What kind of society would even consider taking a look at how many people get murdered every year by guns? Or how many people take their own lives by using a gun? Someone must have done a study that shows only radical liberals and radical liberal kids get killed by guns and that’s why only radicals and liberals care about gun violence.
Gender Equality/Equal Pay for Equal Work — A partisan issue if I ever saw one. Clearly only women of the Democratic persuasion are discriminated against in the workplace and in the pay envelope. Otherwise, Republicans and Independents and non-alligned citizens would also be up in arms about the fact that women on average make about 70 percent of what men make in comparable positions. Changing that situation would surely be not only impossible but also radical, partisan, outrageous and possibly un-American.
Climate Change — Polar ice is melting at an alarming rate, according to climate scientists. Rising surface temperatures of the oceans are contributing to the severity of hurricanes, they also conclude. Rising ocean levels (see melting polar ice) are threatening island nations with inundation if not annihilation, experts warn. And that’s a liberal, radical, outrageous and partisan matter that shouldn’t even be discussed by a president?
Energy/Resource Development — All our oil and natural gas will run out one day. It might be 200 or even 500 years from now, but one day there won’t be any more. Natural resources are finite, and that’s not a liberal, partisan, outrageous fact. It’s just a fact. If we’re truly concerned about our descendants, we might want to give that issue a second glance.
Infrastructure Upgrade — Those who know such things advise that this nation’s infrastructure is beginning to look like that of a third world country. Bridges are decades old. Even our best highways can’t handle the traffic load from day to day. Airports and seaports built in the 1940s and 1950s need some serious overhauling. If, as the experts say, we can expect bigger and more devastating natural disasters in the future, it might be a good idea to consider how to protect those valuable assets. To suggest that efforts to upgrade all these facilities should be dramatically increased isn’t a progressive idea or a starry-eyed liberal notion. It simply needs to be done.
Critics evidently think the president should only have talked about the national debt and the deficit as they relate to how much can be cut out of the federal checkbook. Apparently, the president should only have mentioned how overtaxed we are as that relates to government spending on Social Security, Medicare and the like (not including what we spend on defense, interminable wars that have been waged on borrowed money or other excessive expenditures that for some reason don’t count as partisan, outrageous, out-of-control and unsustainable).
Now, if opposing parties representing disparate philosophies actually were inclined to gather around a large table, or a campfire or anywhere else and agree that we all have problems that need to be addressed, that would be radical. It might even be “progressive” in the sense that we might actually see some progress in any number of areas where progress would be welcome. I think most of us could get behind something that outrageous.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.