SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 19, 2014

Obama maneuver to silence debate finds followers

Travel with me back in time to those good old days when it was so very cool and correct to declare: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

Remember that? It was a mantra, a slogan, a moral crusade for all conscientious liberals when George W. Bush was president.

If you do remember, you probably also recall the exact day it stopped being cool and correct: Jan. 21, 2009, when Bush became a former president and President Barack Obama was inaugurated. Dissent suddenly became tantamount to sedition.

Yeah, Obama promised the “fundamental transformation” of America. History will judge more objectively than any current analysis whether his encouragement of a vast expansion of dependency on government entitlements; a sluggish economy; an uncertain, weak foreign policy; and blatant disrespect for laws he found inconvenient were all the fault of “the rich” or a Republican “war on women.”

But we don’t need to wait for history to judge the suppression of dissent, by mockery and the weight of government itself, to be very, very bad for the country.

Obama’s acolytes had it right back in 2000-2008: Dissent is patriotic. They were rarely patriotic in their attitude; their hatred of Bush was so intense that it degenerated into mindless slogans and personal attacks. “Bush Derangement Syndrome” was not an exaggeration for millions of lefties.

But they are (were) correct that dissent from the agenda of those in power is one of the healthy characteristics of a free society.

If Bush called a press conference to declare that “the debate is over” regarding some unpopular program of his, there would have been a meltdown on the Left from sea to shining sea.

This, they would have said, is proof from the president’s own mouth that he is a fascist.

Yet, that is this president’s direction, and his disgraceful example is spreading.

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