Recently, the issue of whether or not Barack Obama has become a rogue president was prompted by the following petition, which I signed (and you should, too)> "The NSA has become a rogue agency and Congress needs to rein it in. The USA Freedom Act is a much needed first step that would stop the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records and provide some needed transparency about National Security Letters and other forms of warrantless spying. Please support this important legislation, and oppose the competing bill proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that is reform in name only and would do nothing to stop the rampant and unconstitutional abuses by the NSA and other intelligence agencies."
All well and good -- except that the problems with the NSA are only the tip of an iceberg of valid and justified concerns over the behavior of President Obama and his administration, concerns which seem to be mounting by leaps and bounds. There are now credible stories that the White House was well aware of the problems with the Obamacare website -- and chose to ignore those problems in a bizarre Ostrich Reflex which has proved to be a major embarrassment to all supporters of improved health care for all Americans.
Now, it also seems that the President himself lied to us when he repeatedly stated that those who like their present health care plans would be fully able to retain those plans. It seems the truth is that many insurers in many states are no longer going to be allowed to offer those same plans because they no longer meet each and every Obamacare requirement. While one might take the stance that it is the insurers rather than the President who will be taking away some of our preferred health care plans, that stance denies the reality that the White House had to know that this would occur.
But the issue of Presidential roguery, to coin a word, goes even beyond major health care concerns. This President defends spying on our friends in most egregious ways, such as listening in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone calls. Instead of well-warranted Presidential shock and outrage, or even tacit acceptance that spying on our allies might be necessary in some circumstances, there is an arrogance of power amid boastful statements that the United States has every right to violate international standards of privacy and conduct. That approach is what one might expect from former Bush vice president Dick Cheney, the father of waterboarding -- but from Barack Obama it is truly shocking.
Even more shocking is the callous use of unmanned drones to take out those we dislike -- who may or may not be actual or potential terrorists, but usually seem to be innocent men, women, and even children whom we choose to kill, maim, and injure for specious reasons. How can the United States credibly object to the use of chemical weapons in Syria (as of course we should object) when our drone warfare has escalated to new heights of senseless and needless killing? Have we become inured to such roguery by our leaders?
Have we no shame, as a nation, to tolerate such despicable acts? It has indeed become harder and harder to answer the question, has Barack Obama become a rogue president?, in the negative. When it was awarded early in his first term of office, giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama merely seemed premature. Now, it seems patently ridiculous!
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)