The Omnipresent Leader

Much outrage has accompanied the release of a video showing little kids at the Bernice Young Elementary School in New Jersey, being led in a creepy North Korean-style song of praise to Barack Obama. I like to call this clip “The Best Home School Endorsement Video Ever.” Ed Morrissey posted another example of musical indoctrination on Hot Air today, which he felt was a bit more harmless, although it includes lyrics like this:

Obama is the President!
First African American in history
44th president of the United States
The ground has shifted
The world has changed!

I don’t recall many schoolteachers leading hymms to George Bush when he shifted the ground under Saddam Hussein and changed his world. Something tells me no one in the educational establishment would be leading musical worship sessions for the equally historic President Sarah Palin or President Condoleeza Rice, either.

The great HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers” includes a scene where a World War II Army officer is reluctant to salute a superior officer he dislikes. The superior officer gently reminds him, “We salute the uniform, not the man.” Even the less infuriating kiddie sing-along referenced above is offensive to this ideal, because it drills campaign rhetoric about the Historic First Black President into the children. Inducting these kids into the Mickey Mouse Club division of the Obama personality cult will not help them make a reasoned, independent evaluation of his presidency as they grow older. During the later Clinton years, when it became difficult to actually look at the man, the Left lectured us that respect was due to the office he held. Now, we’re told to ignore a tsunami of policy failures, and revere the historic skin color of the man in the Oval Office.

Besides the understandable anger parents feel when their children are used as political props, the Bernice Young sing-along is grating because it’s another aspect of the Obama omnipresence. The guy is everywhere, all the time. He’s been stalking the American voter all summer, muttering the ever-changing details and phony rationale for his health-care takeover plan. Mercifully, he stopped just short of filling our inboxes with spam emails, or dropping pop-up spyware onto our computers. I have a recurring nightmare that the Microsoft Office Assistant will rap on my monitor to get my attention, and start talking about the urgent need for health-care reform.

The omnipresence of our political leadership will only grow worse over time, if we don’t begin scaling back the super-State. Everything in life has become politicized, and politics have become highly centralized. The President, and the majority leadership in Congress, have an increasing amount of influence over every aspect of your daily life – not in a remote theoretical sense, but literally. If the government takes over health care, your body will become property of the State, which will have a vested interest in controlling your diet, exercise, and everything else that might affect your consumption of tightly-rationed medical resources. The cap-and-trade bill puts the federal government in charge of your kitchen appliances and light bulbs. These latest extensions of federal power come after decades of more gradual increases.

Since command economics never work, and statists believe the solution to all problems is more government power, your life will become increasingly dominated by political leaders. Liberals, including most media figures, find this a desirable state of affairs, so they are naturally inclined to revere and worship fashionably liberal politicians. The liberal very much wants the country to be led by a genius who can control the economy, reshape entire industries, and wisely redistribute wealth to achieve social justice. Any Democrat who achieves high office automatically becomes such a genius to them. Of course Barack Obama is a moral, intellectual, and physical superman! He has to be. It’s only natural to feel awed and humbled in the presence of such a being.

The logic of statism assumes that politicians are a superior breed, better suited to run industries than any corporate CEO, and qualified to spend the stupendous amount of money extracted from taxpayers more intelligently than they could. Once the functions of government move beyond essential expenses, such as national defense and border security, the rationale behind every additional tax dollar is based on the greater wisdom of the political class. You cannot be trusted to support the arts, care for the indigent, respect the environment, or do any of the other things Washington spends your tax money on. Soon, you will not be trusted to manage your own health care – in fact, under the Max Baucus health-care plan, you would be jailed for failing to purchase government-approved health insurance. If all of this money is taken from you because you can’t be trusted to spend it wisely, it follows that the people spending it must possess supreme wisdom. Likewise, the displaced private owners of a nationalized industry must be inferior to the politicians who now control it. No rationale for Big Government can escape these conclusions.

The bigger the government, the greater its leaders. The unfortunate citizens of the biggest governments in the last century were told their maximum leaders were demigods. After all, nobody fills their cities with statues and ten-story portraits of ordinary men. Similar cults of personality are forming in modern America… because the democratic election of a government, or the declared benevolence of its nature, do not change the logic of political superiority. People who are intelligent enough to spend half the income of a vast country better than its citizens will naturally seem like fitting subjects for songs of praise, to their most dedicated admirers. Why shouldn’t your children be made to learn those songs?