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Can America Be Saved? Not If We're Blind to the One Force That Can Turn This Battle Around

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In the previous piece in this series, I gave an account of the dispute between me and some dedicated Democratic activists over the question: Could President Obama have been far more effective against the Republicans, making them pay a political price for their disgraceful -- indeed, unprecedented -- behavior as an opposition party from the outset of his presidency?

At the close of that piece, I asserted my interlocutors' insistence that there was nothing Obama could have done provides "yet another window into what there is in the worldview of Liberal America that has rendered it woefully weak in this time of national crisis."

Think of it. The President of the United States supposedly helpless in the battle for public opinion against a political force that was dealing in blatant lies, trampling on our national traditions and ideals, thwarting the expressed will of the people, and showing utter disregard for the public good!

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To believe that is to have a terribly constricted vision of the potential forces that can work in the world. In particular, it shows an inability to perceive the potential power of the spirit.

That's why this issue is important. It's not about this president, who will soon be part of our historical past, but about Liberal America, and whether it has the vision and thus can muster the power to safeguard America's future.

Let's look, then, at the failure of vision that's manifested in this notion that Barack Obama was doomed from the outset to be bested by the destructive force that was dedicated to making him fail.

If Martin Luther King could accomplish what he accomplished from the very modest position from which he began, how much more should we envision a President of the United States -- with his unique power and prominence -- being able to achieve?

And in this case, we're not talking about just any president. Remember the Colossus that Barack Obama was at the time he took office. Never in our lifetimes had a president been swept into office on a wave of such spirit.

Remember the illuminated faces -- alight with the passion of hope for the light-bearer coming to power after a time of profound darkness in America -- in Grant Park in Chicago on the night Obama won the election.

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Remember, too, the worldwide enthusiasm for this new president -- the huge and enthusiastic throng in Berlin not long before Obama was elected, and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded him not long after.

A deep well of spiritual force was there to be tapped into.That was the deep force, welling up from the American people, that had brought Obama to the presidency and, deservedly or not, had imbued him with a profound aura of moral authority throughout the world.

Tragically -- and it is indeed one of the great tragedies of American history -- as soon as he became president, Obama left behind that powerful force of the spirit into which he'd tapped as a candidate. As the Republicans tried out their "make him fail" strategy in opposition, he did nothing to rally America to its better angels. He did not unleash a message of moral and spiritual truth to move Americans to repudiate the practitioners of the ugly politics of the right, with its obstruction and lying and fear-mongering and putting the lust for power ahead of the needs of the nation.

Perhaps Mr. Obama himself had no idea of the power that he'd tapped into. And perhaps a similar lack of vision of the deep forces that can be brought into the battle is shown by those defenders of his who protested that there was nothing Obama could have done to fight and defeat the destructive force that the Republicans had become.

Had there been no Gandhi, and India had not found the path it took to independence, those with no vision of the potential power of the spirit would have claimed what Gandhi did accomplish would have been impossible..

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
 

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