Consequently, several weeks ago during a conversation with Dr. Dan Papp, the president of Kennesaw State University, I suggested that revolutions never work; that they never bring about big changes. Dr. Papp immediately corrected me. No, he essentially said, they never bring about big positive changes.
At first I was taken slightly aback, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was absolutely right. The French Revolution, for example, did bring huge temporary changes, but these were drenched in blood and shot through with injustices.
Once upon a time, before he became a full-time administrator, Dr. Papp was an expert on the Soviet Union. One of his singular achievements was predicting the regime’s downfall long before it occurred. The same sort of foresight should have been possible for the rest of us regarding the debacles visited upon the United States by Barack Obama.
Come to think of it, more than a few of us predicted “hope and change” would come to no good. We Cassandras wondered, for instance, what types of changes Obama had in mind. He didn’t say — and most voters didn’t ask. Change — any change — they assumed would be for the good.
So enthused were bystanders with the soon-to-be president’s rhetoric that he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for what he was going to do. Surely someone opposed to George W. Bush’s military adventurism must reduce international tensions merely by bringing American troops home.
So how has that worked out? With Syria aflame, Iraq lurching toward anarchy, Iran poised to get the atomic bomb, Egypt enduring further repression, the embers of Benghazi barely cooled, the Russian president disrespecting our own with impunity, Korea tearing its Dear Leader’s opponents to pieces with dogs, and China testing our political resolve at nearly every turn, have things really improved?
Obama may not be a Muslim, but he has embraced the advice of radical Islamists that the United States retreat from providing international leadership. Yet who now believes this was for the better?
How about at home? Remember that a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus was going to create millions of jobs by paying for “shovel ready” projects. Well, those projects weren’t ready; nevertheless the president’s political allies were more than prepared to scoop up the “honest graft” he dispensed.
Then, to be sure, there has been Obamacare. It promised a total overhaul of the American medical system so that the uninsured would be covered. Instead many millions lost their insurance and doctors, while millions of others will be jammed into a Medicaid system that doesn’t have the resources to serve them.
Yes, this is change, but is it an improvement? Obama and his associates are betting that a surge in rhetoric will convince us it is. If they tell us often enough, and with sufficient razzle-dazzle, we will no longer be deceived by our lying eyes. The young, especially, given their idealism and lack of experience, will be persuaded the best is yet to come.
What Obama and his crowd have never learned, and probably never will, is that large changes are fraught with surprises. There are always unexpected consequences! Many of which can be very nasty!
Nonetheless, Obama and his disciples believe he is brilliant. They are convinced his unrivaled insights and undoubted rhetorical skills can get him (and us) out of any trouble that arises.
So batten down the hatches. There is a blizzard of words hanging just over the horizon. It is upon this storm that the Bureaucratic (aka Democratic) Party is pinning its hopes. As for the rest of us, the best we can anticipate is that our president will not cause too much additional damage during the next three years.
Melvyn L. Fein Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.