The Politics of Presumption
- T.M. Moore
- September 1, 2010
What bothers me most about President Obama's speech last night...
What bothers me most about President Obama's speech last night is the same thing that bothers me with most other presidential addresses I've heard over the years.
The President had some nice things to say about the American military - their courage, efficiency, and sacrifice. He seemed to wish the Iraqi people well in the challenge before them of making democracy work (I am most skeptical). He even mentioned former President Bush in something other than a condemning mode, which must have been difficult for him, given his typical way of referring to his predecessor.
Mr. Obama made it very clear that he is through with Iraq, so don't bother asking him any more questions. On to Afghanistan and, more importantly, new big plans to stimulate the economy. Close the book on one chapter of America's history and take up the pen to write the next. Not a very realistic approach, either to history or governance.
No, what really bothers me is the obligatory, "God bless you, and God bless America" at the end of his - or any other president's - address. The President spent 17 minutes interpreting recent American history - what happened, what it means - and indicating how the nation will now respond to its greatest challenges. That done, he now expects God to endow his plans with his blessing. Without so much as a single discussion with anyone who might actually know the Lord as to whether or not He approves of the President's plans?
Yes, yes, I know the President prays every day and consults spiritual advisers. That's wonderful. But when it comes to policy, actual presidential leadership of the nation, we have yet to see any conscious connection between Biblical revelation and the president's actions. Yet he expects - indeed, it almost sounded like an instruction - the Lord to bless his decisions.
Such political presumption will not likely gain the hoped-for end. And where does that leave the nation?
T. M. Moore
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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