Higgins: When I Was A Child …Written by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Political parties in general and politicians in particular seem to have a different understanding of the problems faced by government when they are in positions of lesser authority than when their power becomes greater. When Republicans were out of power, they decried laws passed along party lines as a subversion of the democratic process, while Democrats saw it as getting the work of the country done. Now that the roles are reversed, it’s Democrats in the House are complaining about their lack of democracy in the process, while Republicans see themselves as only doing what those who voted them into office asked them to.
We likewise see reversals by members in Congress who spoke out for any way out of the conflicts in the Middle East in the person of Senate Majority Leader Reid and former Speaker of the House Pelosi under President Bush, but seem curiously silent on such issues when not seeking support for their continuation today. Efforts in Libya also seem to be considered much different than other efforts in that part of the world under the previous Administration.
Perhaps no greater reversal of thought on some of the issues of the day has occurred in recent years however, than that of the President himself. Once a champion of staying out of Iraq and Afghanistan as things outside of the American interests, he now finds himself the champion of not only continuing these efforts, but expanding them into Libya (and perhaps Syria and Yemen).
In 2002 as an Illinois state Senator, his words could be found rather inconsistent today as he said, “Now let me be clear: I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power…. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors…and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.” Perhaps Muammar Gaddafi fits into a different category of dictatorial thug and murderer; but the only one that I can see is the job held by the man speaking.
We can likewise look to his views on raising the debt limit in this country; an area that he not only voted against in the Senate, but which he spoke out against during his time as the junior Senator from Illinois in 2006, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
Recent pronouncements from the occupant of the White House, at least according to his spokesman, seem quite different. Speaking on the recently failed vote for raising the debt limit we are told in an AP article, Obama “thinks it was a mistake,” presidential spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. “He realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration’s policies, you can play around with.”
It’s in 1 Corinthians, 13:11 that Paul the apostle gave us the now famous phrase, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child ….”; and perhaps that’s it. Maybe only a few short years ago before seeking the office of president, he had a far less mature understanding of the problems facing the nation and world at the time; which is a scary thought. This Biblical passage goes on to say however, “… but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. This could mean that greater knowledge, maturity, and wisdom come with a position of greater responsibility, and one must set aside what can now only be considered flawed beliefs. On the other hand, it might simply be another elected official saying, ‘pay no attention to what I said, but instead to what I’m saying’. Worse still it might imply, as he often seemed to accuse his predecessor of; when you’re in power, the rules don’t apply to you.