all know it. We all see it. When he speaks about America, Americans cringe. There is a strangeness to his manner, an unease when he talks about America. He appears awkward and uncomfortable. His speech seems performed and practiced yet, oddly halting. It's reminiscent of American POW's in Vietnam or Iraq reading a forced confession. His eyes, expressions, and vocal tone are disconnected from his words. The words themselves often sound American, but the delivery is clinical and detached. His attempts at patriotic sentiment ring hollow and phony. "Once again, with feeling!" is how Americans are left feeling. He just doesn't seem right. He doesn't seem like, well...one of us.
Before anyone "goes there" and makes accusations of racism, this is about a pervasive, nagging, national perception that Barack Obama does not intuitively understand or appreciate America or Americans. Not our past. Not our present or future. He just doesn't act or sound like an American. In fact, there are good reasons and ample evidence for why.
For many of us, "being an American" was a normal part of our collective upbringing. We learned it in school. We said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning right alongside our teachers. Even in liberal Southern California the day began with the Pledge often followed by singing "God Bless America" or "America the Beautiful." Annual "Flag Ceremonies" were held with quotations from the Declaration of Independence and patriotic songs performed by the student body, in public, for parents and passersby to enjoy. There were even songs that mentioned God. Christmas was celebrated, in school. It was understood that God was integral to the founding of America and that The Creator was the true source of our liberties. Schools reinforced parental authority, being a good citizen, and responsibility to God. Religion was never preached or taught, but it was also never denigrated and never censored.
Public school teachers and administrators modeled patriotism for their students. It was part of growing up in America. Honoring America. Being an American. The 4th of July was a community celebration. We stood with parents, neighbors, and friends and together celebrated America. We learned early on to revere the Stars and Stripes. The Flag was sacred. Many of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers had fought for it in wars past and were fighting for it in Vietnam. Many had died and would die for the American Flag and the people and ideals it represented. We saw the sacrifices on the nightly news with continual pictures of dead American soldiers and the daily "body count" recited.
From the World War II Generation to those who lived and fought through Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan today's Americans are those who know, all too well, the price of freedom. Our children and grandchildren witnessed the attacks of September 11, 2001. The memory of distraught parents, difficult dinnertime conversations, and the ensuing War on Terror shaped their youth and young adult years.
These and many other shared experiences before and since have created generations of Americans who cherish this land, this idea that is America. They do so with heart and soul. Standing on cue they remove their hats, place their hands over their hearts or salute, and then choke back the tears as the Star-Spangled Banner is played. They are Americans within the very fiber of their being.
Naturalized citizens often display this same love of country, for many have escaped oppressive regimes or economic hopelessness to come to America and be adopted as America's sons and daughters. They came seeking their American Dream, the freedom and opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their families. There's a common, deep, and intimate connection that Americans feel for their country. The soul of America is maintained in the hearts of its people, fiercely loyal to the vision of our Founders and the ideas and precepts of our founding documents.
These same kinds of experiences did not shape the young Barack Obama. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was an atheist and politically extreme. At the age of 6 the future president was ushered off to Indonesia where he attended school registered as a Muslim, recited the Quran in Arabic, and learned how to be a good Muslim. In these studies, he would have learned that all non-Muslims were infidels worthy of deception and ultimately, death. Christians and Jews were the enemy. Despite what Obama may say, the United States remains a Christian nation with a strong Jewish population and deep ties to Israel. Judeo-Christian principles helped form and continue to influence our national identity with many signers of the Declaration of Independence having been clergy or devout Christians. America remains home to the largest Christian population in the world. What bigger infidel could there be than America?
Obama's teen years were spent living with his maternal grandparents on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. There he met a family friend, communist, purported pedophile, and his eventual mentor, the radical poet Frank Marshall Davis.
Obama's connections to radical leftists are numerous and well-known. He's admitted to attending socialist meetings and participated in a rally organized by the Democratic Socialists of America. In 1996, he sought and received the endorsement of the far left group The New Party. He has worked with, supported, and attempted to shield from investigation the group ACORN which was recently convicted of massive voter fraud. Obama's White House is chock-full of radical leftist, anti-American advisors. As a 20-year attendee at Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, Obama was steeped in Black Liberation Theology which is rooted in the collectivist philosophy of Karl Marx. Marx's most oft-quoted excerpt from his work "Critique of the Gotha Programme" seems to foreshadow the future President Obama's stated belief in wealth redistribution: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."
The reason that Americans feel unease when Barack Obama talks about America is that he is talking about a different America. His words are carefully chosen and crafted to sound American, but the hidden meaning is much more malevolent. His goal is "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" into a nation where social justice reigns and injustice is counted as fairness and equity. He seeks a nation of redistribution where those who succeed through hard work, honest enterprise, financial investment, time, energy, and risk are rewarded with government confiscation of the fruits of their labor. His is a country where communication systems, travel corridors, and private property are tightly controlled by the State. It's a country where education is state-run and curricula are state-mandated. In a fully implemented Obama-nation, it would be illegal to pass the accumulation of one's lifetime on to heirs. This is the America of Karl Marx's dreams.
Barack Obama does not sound like an American because Obama's heart and soul are not American in nature. His thoughts are not American. His attitude and philosophy are not American. He cannot speak from the heart about America because America does not reside there. With a Muslim upbringing, a radical family, radical mentor, a myriad of radical connections, radical advisors, a radical theology, and some say a radical spouse, it's no wonder.
Obama's agenda is informed by Marx and guided by years of close associations with extreme individuals and groups whose stated goals are the demise of America and America's influence in the world. When he says he wants to "fundamentally transform America," he is dead serious.
For the first time in all of American history, we are at the mercy of an un-American American President.
May God truly bless the United States of America.
Jay Clarke is a businessman and lifelong conservative from Southern California. He's a proud husband, father, and grandfather.