An Independence Day Letter

Note: These words came flowing from my mind early on July 4, 2009 as I was responding to a fellow American who believes my criticism of President Obama after only six months in office is unnecessarily harsh. I think a lot of people, myself included, are alarmed at the speed and scope of what President Obama is doing. I would feel the same way if it were a President Kerry, Clinton, or Edwards.

I believe our Founding Fathers designed an elegant self-governance construct in which family, faith, community, commerce, charity and government played significant and equally important roles. Government is encroaching into spheres of influence for which it is not well-designed and I don't have to wait six months to see that.

As you may have read in my previous article, the effects of government doing things it was not designed to do have been catastrophic for the other institutions in our society, especially our families. When government enforces the law, as it belatedly did with the civil rights movement, it is performing a necessary function for which it is well designed. By defending laws largely put in place by Republicans to ensure equality for blacks in America, the government was maintaining order and executing justice, roles for which it was clearly designed. The writings and statements of the Founding Fathers about their distrust of all-encompassing government, and the design they put in place to keep government in check lest it take away liberty, are not at all ambiguous or unclear.

Government wields the stick to keep us all in line and respectful of one another. Families are there for lifetime nurturing, care and provision. Faith feeds the soul and trains the conscience for moral living and compassion for one another. In times of disaster or great need, the community, church and charity step in to lift people up out of the mire and set them to rights once again. Commerce is the engine that creates wealth and allows us to be the most prosperous nation on earth, and anyone that aspires to wealth and plays by the rules can win.

Rich people aren't confined to a class or race or caste; a man can become rich from playing golf, writing a hit rap song, or dropping out of Harvard to design software that puts a computer (or more) in every home. Capitalism is a win-win for everyone because everyone has the potential to go as far as their talents, dreams and work ethic will take them. When it gets out of hand, the corrective hand of government is there for common-sense regulation. While not perfect, as Fareed Zakaria said, "The simple truth is that with all its flaws, capitalism remains the most productive economic engine we have yet invented."

I know the underlying assumption in your belief that Barack Obama is being criticized too harshly too soon is that he is our first black President and that is what is motivating the tenor and volume of criticism.

If I believe an unborn person is a human being from conception and the President begins systematically striking down laws protecting the unborn, I don't care what color the person is, I'm going to be critical.

If I believe in the model of sexual intimacy defined in the Bible as the best course for mankind's protection and contentment, and the President openly embraces an alternative model and promises to overturn laws that promote the trilateral family construct of mother, father and children, then that person will be the target of my ire whether he or she is lily white or dark as night.

If I believe I have the talent and the drive to become rich and, just as opportunities for minority entrepreneurs are beginning to flourish, the President penalizes wealth and makes those who legitimately pursue it objects of scorn rather than the heroes of the greatest economic engine in world history, then I'm not allowing our kinship of race to silence me.

If I believe that, despite its sins, no great empire has done more to advance freedom and prosperity around the world than the United States of America, yet the commander-in-chief is traveling the world apologizing for America's failings and equating them to some of the most heinous and barbaric regimes known to man, then this proud veteran and patriot cannot be silent, anymore than you or others who hold your worldview could remain silent at what you considered to be wrong or unjust.

If we as black people are to take our place in American society, we've got to stop demanding special consideration not granted to others doing the same tasks as we are. President Obama has certainly had no more or less a honeymoon than any President of recent years. I think back to the first years of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and I don't see a lot of difference in the tone or scope of criticism. The President needs to man up.

Happy Independence Day, by the way. Thanks for letting me express my opinion, and for expressing yours. May freedom always ring!