10 February 2012

The Declaration and OIP Derangement Syndrome

On 15 Sept 2010, President Barack Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Here’s the end of his speech, according to the White House transcript.
Long before America was even an idea, this land of plenty was home to many peoples. To British and French, to Dutch and Spanish, to Mexican—(applause)—to countless Indian tribes. We all shared the same land. We didn’t always get along. But over the centuries, what eventually bound us together—what made us all Americans—was not a matter of blood, it wasn’t a matter of birth. It was faith and fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That’s what makes us unique. That’s what makes us strong. The ability to recognize our common humanity; to remember that in this country, equality and opportunity are not just words on a piece of paper, they’re not just words in the mouths of politicians—they are promises to be kept.

And that is our calling now—to keep those promises for the next generation. No matter which way the political winds shift, I will stand with you for that better future. (Applause.) And if you stand with me, and if we remember that fundamental truth—that divided we fall, but united we are strong, and out of many, we are one—then you and I will finish what we have started. We will make sure that America forever remains an idea and a place that’s big enough and bold enough and brave enough to accommodate the dreams of all our children and all our people for years to come. Si, se puede.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you.
How did people with OIP Derangement Syndrome respond? They howled that the President had mangled the Declaration of Independence by quoting several phrases from its 110-word second sentence without including the three words “by their Creator.”

The American Family Association (shortly afterward listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its anti-gay bigotry) emailed: “Watch the video to see this blatant disrespect for God and Christians in America.” The Weekly Standard’s blog questioned Obama’s beliefs. Herman Cain, man of fidelity, said the President had made an intentional omission. The CBN reporter Cain spoke to had earlier pointed out that the phrases from the Declaration were not in the President’s prepared text and therefore unplanned, but he doesn’t appear to have pressed Cain on that point.

Very quickly David Emery discovered that Obama’s remarks similar to those from other Presidents. On the sesquicentennial of the Declaration in 1926, Calvin Coolidge said:
Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.
In 1960, Dwight D. Eisenhower said:
Two hundred years, lacking sixteen, have passed since our forefathers proclaimed to the world the truths they held self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that governments are instituted among men to secure those rights, deriving their just powers only from the consent of the governed.
In 1986, Ronald Reagan proclaimed about Martin Luther King, Jr.:
He made it possible for our nation to move closer to the ideals set forth in our Declaration of Independence: that all people are created equal and are endowed with inalienable rights that government has the duty to respect and protect.
For that matter, way back in 1863 Abraham Lincoln publicly said:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
None of those four Presidents had used the phrase “by their Creator,” either. But people with OIP Derangement Syndrome have a double standard, holding Barack Obama to rules they don’t apply to other Presidents. They want to say that he’s done something wrong in order to justify their visceral reaction to seeing him as President.

To those people it doesn’t matter that Obama praised Americans’ “faith” just one sentence earlier in this speech. It doesn’t matter that he ended it with an explicit “God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”

To those people it doesn’t matter that President Obama had included the word “Creator” in quoting the Declaration in recent speeches at West Point and on Independence Day, as Media Matters pointed out. Or that he routinely uses religious language and participates in religious ceremonies, such as the recent National Prayer Breakfast.

No, for people suffering from OIP Derangement Syndrome, all that matters is finding some way to declare that Barack Obama has done something terribly, terribly wrong. So they don’t have to face the real reasons for their terrible, terrible feeling.

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