By Ayesh Perera, For The Miami Student
It was March 2006. President George W. Bush was yet again attempting to add to the national debt. It was up to Congress to decide whether to submit to his request or to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.
The Democratic senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, stood up to speak. He was concerned about an ongoing crisis.
In his stirring address he said that “increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally,” and “it is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills.” Finally, he concluded that “Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
When President Obama took office, the debt was just over $10 trillion, accumulated by numerous presidents over several decades. Yet, in the six years under Obama, who once vowed “… to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit,” the national debt is over $18 trillion, almost twice what it was.
Never in the history of America has there been a spender like Obama.
The metamorphoses of Obama go beyond the national debt problem. Obama, now an ardent supporter of corporate welfare, was recently urging Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Ironically, this was the same person who announced that “we just need to cut back, like the waste of the Economic Agency and the Export-Import bank that’s become little more than a fund for corporate welfare,” in 2008.
Obama has had his hands on the issue of immigration throughout his years in politics as well. Emphasizing the importance of the rule of law, Obama once said, “our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship. And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.”
However, in 2013, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 36,007 convicted illegal immigrants — 193 of whom were convicted for murder, 426 for sexual assault, 303 for kidnapping, 1,160 for
stealing vehicles and 16,070 for drunk or drugged driving.
The Obama administration’s foreign policy, too, is worthy of examination.
In August 2012, Obama famously declared that if Syrian President Bashar Al Assad used chemical weapons, “that’s a redline for us and there would be enormous consequences.”
One year later, when Assad’s use of chemical weapons to gas more than 1400 to death became evident, his redline apparently disappeared.
Moreover, Ukraine gave up its nuclear arms under the Budapest Memorandum because we promised to protect them. However, when attacked, we wouldn’t even give them offensive weapons to defend themselves.
Even more notable is the nuclear deal with Iran — Iran, in whose jails, there are still Americans languishing, along whose streets there are still rallies calling “death to America” and whose supreme leader has consistently and clearly expressed his intentions to annihilate the Middle East’s only free enterprise democracy, and the world’s one and only Jewish nation — Israel.
Finally, one does not have to be a historian to know that America did not invent religious freedom, but rather, that it was the yearning for religious freedom that created this nation. The free-exercise clause in the first amendment to the constitution guarantees people the right to practice their faith — not only inside the walls of a place of worship, but also at the work place, at school or in running one’s own business.
The Obama administration’s respect for these constitutional freedoms has been unequivocally explained by its litigation of Hobby Lobby, the Little Sisters of the Poor and the IRS’ demanding to know the content of people’s prayers.
Obama came into office promising “hope” and “change” and chanting “yes we can.” Today, under his presidency, we have 16 million more people on food stamps and six million more people in poverty than we had in 2008. Moreover, 35 million Americans still lack any health insurance.
The youth unemployment rate is 17.1 percent. 6.5 million people are working part time, most of whom want to work full-time. For the first time in 35 years, more businesses are dying than beginning. Abroad, because of his foreign policy, our allies cannot trust us and our enemies won’t fear us.
Surely, stirring speeches may win elections. But beautiful words cannot balance budgets. Neither can soaring rhetoric solve all our problems.
Perhaps it is time that we judge our candidates for office not by the words they speak, but by the work they do.