Please Don't Shoot President Obama

No good ever comes from assassinating leaders.

The day long awaited by the left, memorialized on innumerable T-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, and countdown clocks, has finally arrived: 1/20/09, "Bush's Last Day."  Despite nutroots disappointment by Mr. Obama's relatively centrist Cabinet appointments, Democrats reign supreme: the White House, both houses of Congress, shortly the judiciary, and countless local governments, all in the hands of liberals.

To hear the punditry tell it, a madman with a gun is the only event that could rain on the parade.  Even during the campaign, the media seemed to be consumed with a palpable fear that some reactionary KKK type would attempt to dispatch the first black major-party nominee.  Whenever McCain or, more notably, Sarah Palin dared to mention the racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the response from all corners was that she was inciting white racists to a murderous act.

Let's face it, there are nuts on both sides.  It's not impossible that, even as you read this, somebody is out there concocting an assassination plot.  It's happened before; someday, surely, it will happen again; and not often have we been so divided a country as we are now.

It would be hard to have starker political differences than between Scragged and Mr. Obama.  We do not welcome his policies, his spending proposals, his corrupt Chicago friends, his statist mentality, or his uncanny ability to spin rhetorically seductive candyfloss webs of "Hope and Change" that are almost impossible to translate into concrete Constitutional governance.

Nevertheless, he won a free and fair election.  It is not his responsibility to proclaim the defects and problems in his point of view; that's for his opponents and the media.  During the last election, both of these essential elements of our system of checks and balances failed execrably in their duty and will bear the blame heavily in the long term.

Be that as it may, Mr. Barack Hussein Obama is, by right, the President of the United States, as well as being a human being with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

That alone would be reason enough for any patriotic American to wholeheartedly oppose an attempt to do violence to the man.  There is, however, a much more concrete reason for us to beg, on bended knee, that anyone considering an assassination attempt against the President abandon it: It will have exactly the opposite of the desired effect.

How to Make a Hero

Sadly, America has suffered several times from a Presidential assassination.  Once would be too many; but we have had three successful attempts and many more failures.

The first, and most notorious, Presidential assassination was of course Abraham Lincoln's murder by John Wilkes Booth, as every schoolchild once was taught.  Booth was a staunch supporter of Southern secession and he rightly blamed Lincoln for the South's defeat.

He saw killing Lincoln both as a means of revenge and as a last-ditch way to just possibly give the dying South a little more breathing room.  When he jumped to the stage of Ford's Theater from Lincoln's box on his way out the door, he shouted Virginia's state motto: "Sic semper tyrannis", which means "Thus always to tyrants!"

Booth presumably intended people to see Lincoln revealed as a tyrant, forcing his will upon the free people of the South.  The exact opposite happened.

The North was unified in fury and grief; those who'd opposed Lincoln's re-election in the extremely close 1864 election suddenly regarded him as a saint.  It's been St. Lincoln ever since; he is equal if not superior to George Washington himself, the Father of our Country.

Booth, in contrast, ranks right down next to Judas and Benedict Arnold.  His Lost Cause hasn't slid quite so far perhaps, but he certainly did it no favors - in part as a reaction to Lincoln's murder, the South suffered through the era of Reconstruction, made far harsher than that attitude of "With malice toward none, with charity for all" that the President had intended.

Abraham Lincoln was, without question, one of our greatest presidents.  Having saved the unity of the nation, he would have been ranked towards the top even if he had served out his full two terms followed by an honorable retirement.

Is there any doubt, however, that his untimely death contributed to his exalted position in the pantheon of American statesmen?  In a perverse way, Booth did Lincoln a favor: he made him a martyr and turned him into a near-deity.

We saw a similar effect a century later with the assassination of John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald.  To this day, all things Kennedy are worshiped by the media and by a great many Americans, even when there is every rational reason to do otherwise.  Historically speaking, JFK was mostly a failure.

He presided over the Bay of Pigs Disaster which convinced Soviet Premier Kruschev of American weakness and brought the world perilously close to nuclear destruction during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  He allowed the Viet Cong to establish supply lines through neutral Laos, leading to their eventual victory in Vietnam.  He failed to oppose the construction of the Berlin Wall, sentencing millions to an unnecessary half-century of imprisonment; and, once-secret Soviet and American files now reveal, got Russian missiles out of Cuba only by striking a deal guaranteeing not to invade and agreeing to pull American missiles from Turkey.

It's not unreasonable to suppose that, if Kennedy had lived out his natural life, he would today be remembered as a failed President with a nice wardrobe and alluring wife, much as we remember Carter as a failed President with a sweater.  Thanks to an assassin's bullet, however, JFK's miserable record has been all but immune to criticism for decades.

Jimmy Carter was not so lucky: he has had to bear the burden of his policy and strategic failures, as well as his sartorial taste.  Despite the best efforts of the media to rehabilitate his record, he is despised by most of those who lived through his administration, to the point that he was not even invited to speak at the recent Democratic nominating convention.

In the aftermath of JFK's assassination, we learn something frightening: it's popular memory that counts, not the actual facts.  In honor of a colleague's death, politicians often vote for legislation that they would have opposed if the supposed sponsor were still alive; this impulse has animated the American civil rights situation for a half-century.

Dying For A Cause

During the Kennedy administration, the civil rights movement was reaching the boiling point.  After JFK's death, as part of the overall homage to his memory, Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

It's amazing to consider the turnaround in only ten years: in 1957, an earlier Civil Rights Act sponsored by Republicans was overwhelmingly defeated with Democrats almost unanimous in opposition.  The funny thing is that JFK, supposedly the great white standard-bearer of civil rights for blacks, voted against the 1957 act.

When it was politically expedient for him to do so, he spoke a civil-rights line; but while alive and in office, JFK did virtually nothing to improve the lot of blacks.

Yet after he died and became immune to criticism, he was mistakenly remembered as fighting for civil rights; making him a martyr to civil rights suited his successors better than seeing him as a casualty of the Cold War.  Others took up the cause and completed what he himself had no real interest in doing.

If Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy on account of his "support" for civil rights (a debatable point), he could hardly have done his own cause more damage.  Similarly, if Oswald's motivation was to support Communism, again he sank his own side: JFK the president was incompetent at opposing the Soviets, whereas JFK the anti-Communist martyr, although discussed less than JFK the civil rights martyr, was highly effective in motivating American opposition to Soviet advances.

How does this apply to Obama?  Consider: he has publicly called for a laundry-list of policies that are, if not actually Communist, unquestionably socialist.

Bailouts for anything and everything?  Forced unionization?  Carbon taxes on everything that moves?  Government spending like we've never seen before?  Total government control of the financial system?  Surrendering to dictators and terrorists?  You name it, if it's far, far left, Mr. Obama has given a speech in favor of it.

From what we can tell of his administration so far, though, political gravity and reality are having an effect: on some level, he recognizes that far left nuttiness is just that and he has no intention of incinerating his political capital by trying to implement all of it.  Even today we see a living example, as pro-family Pastor Rick Warren gives the inaugural prayer to the fury of the homosexual lobby.

A living Mr. Obama has to deal with the art of the possible; he is clearly skilled enough and intelligent enough to know the natural limits.  A martyred President Obama would have no such restrictions.

Divided, We Fall

There's one last example which should strike fear into the heart of any racist who might be inclined to change history: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As with JFK, it's hard to separate facts from hagiography, but we all know Dr. King's great "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall in 1963.  Let's look once more at his immortal, heart-felt words:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Does this leave any room for so-called "affirmative action"?  How about racial preferences?  Minority set-asides?  The Congressional Black Caucus?

No - Dr. King also opposed what Bush called the "soft bigotry of low expectations."  Dr. King saw the black man as fully the equal of the white man, able to compete and win on the same ground.

He would have been insulted by the idea that minorities had to have the playing field tilted in their favor for them to have a chance of success.  He fought for "equal opportunity" in the true and literal meaning of those words, not their Orwellian politically-correct modern definition of just the opposite.

Yet by removing the generally good-intentioned Dr. King from the national discourse, his killers succeeded in replacing him with race-baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, sentencing America to policies which enlarge our differences instead of bringing us together.  Was this good for our country?  Or, was this what the racists wanted?

It's benefited nobody - not the whites who have been disadvantaged, nor the blacks who "benefit" from the policies.  Beneficiaries of affirmative action go through life wondering if they could have succeeded on their own while knowing that most everyone else doesn't believe they could, especially the racists who wanted Dr. King dead and blacks back under the thumb of Jim Crow.

To his credit, Mr. Obama mostly refrained from running as a race candidate despite having spent two decades under the rantings of the racist Rev. Wright.  By his elevation to the highest office in the land, he holds out the possibility of an end to the grudges; Jesse Jackson's frustration with Mr. Obama is ample proof.  Maybe, just possibly, he will present to black Americans a vision of success earned by hard work, attention to study, and duty to family that is sorely needed throughout our society.

If he's murdered, all that will be lost.  Instead, we will descend into a cycle of hatred and violence we have not seen since the dark days of the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Anyone who wishes for this is an enemy, not just of Mr. Obama, but of America.

Fight Mr. Obama's socialist policies in the proper way, via the political process.  Write your representatives.  Picket, if you will, and protest peacefully.

But if, God forbid, some ignorant fool attempts to take him out, then there is only one rational thing for any American to do, even if you disagree with every last statement, speech, or action of Mr. Obama: For our country's sake, throw yourself in front of the bullet.

Read other articles by Hobbes or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments
Very profound. I was alarmed at the title, but this is a fantastic post. If Obama does not fail politically, he will be martyred. If he is killed in office, he will REALLY be martyred.
January 20, 2009 9:00 AM
January 20, 2009 12:33 PM
Y'know, you didn't mention the most horrific consequence of an assassination: President Joe Biden. *shudder*
January 28, 2009 10:45 PM
This is not the proud country America anymore. If he is not impeached or if he does not step down than being "removed" would work! He is GOING to destroy this country and remove it's morals. "To secure peace is, to pepare for war!"
September 12, 2009 9:25 PM

In response to a recent email I received about my post. Removing him by killing him, never crossed my mind. That would never be patriotic or of any moral value.

April 7, 2013 2:34 PM
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