JRR Tolkien wrote a book where the hero has to carry a ring of power. The ring gives the owner power, but it also corrupts the owner. So the hero, a small hobbit from the Shire, has to cast the ring into the fire in the evil land of Mordor, which will destroy the ring, and the dark power behind it.
An ally in the quest is the wizard Gandalf, who is offered the ring at one point by Frodo the hobbit.
Gandalf: “Don’t tempt me Frodo! I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand Frodo, I would use this Ring from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”
A few day ago, the actress Gwyneth Paltrow hosted a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, and she said: “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass,” she said.
I live in a conservative world – I rely for my facts on conservative websites, and the op-eds in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a very different world than that of this actress, who earns 19 million dollars a year, and like so many of her peers, is a passionate liberal.
In my world, I notice the following.
Obama is actually being sued by the usually cautious Republican speaker for abuse of power.
Obama’s reply? “Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me.”
But the Republicans ARE trying to “do stuff.” The problem is that the Democrats will not allow a vote on a huge number of Republican initiatives in the Senate. There is no precedent (that I know of) for this in American history.
The lawsuit is about Obama’s “executive orders” which in a number of areas were unlawful because it’s the job of Congress to make or change laws.
In addition, Michael McConnell, the director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School writes, “While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so..”
I suppose if we had a leader who was all-knowing and all-good, that we could entrust to him unlimited and unchecked power.
And in fact, several democracies have enthusiastically voted in leaders who then proceeded to dismantle the checks on their power, until the Democracy becomes something resembling an ideological dictatorship.
Obama, in Gwyneth’s view, in a marvelous person, fighting for women, for the environment, etc. Obama, in my view, is perhaps the man who dug a hole so deep that America will not emerge from it.
In my world, I read quotes such as:
Xi Jinping commands the PLA to be battle-ready. The state media uses harsh words like ‘unswerving,’ ‘unflinching,’ ‘uncompromising.’ A defense academic warns the nation to prepare for World War III. An active-duty PLA major-general scoffs that Japan can be ‘taught a lesson’ with a third of his forces.
So what does Obama do about this, Some say he is “purging the military” of officers who do not support him, and certainly, his administration has defunded crucial weapon systems (such as the A-10 Warthog airplane), and our military has been reduced to the smallest it has been since the period between World War I and World War II.
Liberals are told that “Republican budget cuts are responsible for the spread of Ebola” and “Republicans have a war against women.”
But I read about another “war on women”. I read about women getting shot for even advocating that girls get educated (by Taliban etc.) I read about large-scale child-sex-abuse by Muslims in Rotherham, England, who victimized English girls, and the high rate of rape in Sweden, which is almost all by Muslim immigrants. So I live in a different world than Gwyneth Paltrow. My world is much more dangerous. And giving Obama more power will not make it any less so.
At the end of WWII, Tolkien was asked about the victors. He said that they had used the ring. I’m not sure if he meant the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or had something else in mind. I worry that a leader who can persuade the many poor and uneducated voters in a society that he “cares about them” can end up putting on the ring and never taking it off.