Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

You might believe in change, but that doesn

So it’s been six days since Our Lord Jesus Christ the only begotten Son ‘- excuse me ‘- since president Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America. Everybody knows that. I’m sure most of you reading this article voted for him last November.

Hell, I’m sure a majority could probably give a rather more in depth biography of Obama while failing to correctly name the current prime minister of the United Kingdom. Anyways, Bush is out and Obama is in; everybody loves America again; let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend, and so on.

Everyone knows that Obama was elected on a campaign of hope and change, but I’m here to tell you that he’s not changing anything.

Now, I know you’re all surely slamming down your coffee cups and saying ‘But, Matt, he’s only been in office for six days ‘- how can you possibly say that?!’

That, of course, is the entire point of this article. So keep on reading and enjoy.

According to my old friend Merriam-Webster, change can be defined as ‘to make different in some particular’; ‘to make radically different’; ‘to give a different position, course or direction,’ and so on and so forth.

You get the idea.

Now I suppose it could be said that just by putting the federal government back under the control of members of the Democratic Party, Obama has succeeded in change. But that leaves all of us unsatisfied. The breathless, messianic ‘change we can believe in’ leads me to think that when he said change, Mr. Obama meant radical, sweeping change.

Accepting that definition, he has already failed utterly.

His cabinet appointments are proof enough for me: Hillary Clinton, the epitome of the Democratic establishment, is secretary of state Robert Gates ‘- who was appointed to his post by ex-president George W. Bush for Obama’s sake! ‘- will remain secretary of defense. Eric H. Holder Jr., deputy attorney general for Bill Clinton, is now attorney general. Timothy Geithner, head of New York‘s Federal Reserve Bank and another member of Clinton‘s cabinet, is our new secretary of the Treasury. This is a cabinet of the establishment, by the establishment, and for the establishment.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see how keeping all the same people who have run the country before to run it now constitutes ‘change’ of any sort. For Obama’s sake, that’s the essence of conservativism! Furthermore, his economic policies are exactly the same as Bush! We can expect more bailouts of failed businesses, more restrictions of our freedom to buy what we want, less jobs, higher gas prices. No change, just a continuation of the same failed policies. If I didn’t know better I’d have sworn Bush had won a third term by pulling a reverse Michael Jackson on us.

But what does need to change in this country? I think everyone will agree that we do need a new direction. However, I know we will all disagree on what direction that should be. Personally, I think we need to start acting more like individual people and less like collective groups. While largely mythical, there was once a time when individual rights meant something to people. Today the respect for the individual has largely degenerated into pressure groups trying to obtain privledges for themselves from the government. The last thing this country needs are actual classes.

On a similar note, there could be a lot more space for natural law and natural rights in our way of thinking than there currently is. The modern idea seems to be that people derive their rights from the government, not from being human. Governments can only deny rights, they cannot create or destroy them. Sadly that fact is too often forgotten in today’s world, with the upshot that spurious ‘rights’ like the ‘right’ to healthcare, or housing, or employment get floated around. Those are commodities, not rights. They can be bought and sold. Inalienable rights ‘- natural rights ‘- are not for sale and nor can they ever be. It is only possible to deny them with force.

Regardless of who is president or which party controls Congress, it is important that as a nation we accept certain ideas as immutable and essential to a free society. The ideas, the American creed, if you will, should not be a mere party ideology. Red and blue states should not define America. To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton: let the New Yorker be ever more libertine and daring and the Texan more conservative and cautious. In short, let the absurdity called Texas cancel out the insanity called New York.

I sincerely hope I am wrong about the presidency of Mr. Obama. We are in desperate need of change. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Matt Robare is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]

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