Today, President Obama spoke in Burma – or as he termed it, Myanmar, despite official US practice to call the country Burma – and repeatedly botched the name of the country’s famed Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, instead calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi. Then he called President Thein Sein “President Sein,” which was a diplomatic snafu, since the president of Burma is to be called by his full name.His speech was just as bad. After getting through the basics – acting as though his doctrine, not President Bush’s multiple actions on behalf of democracy in Burma, had created more freedom in Burma -- Obama cited Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.”
When it came to freedom of speech, Obama said all the right things – after all, he was not talking about an anti-Islam YouTube video in Burma. But he then followed up that glowing language with this bombshell: “Now, on other hand, as President, I cannot just impose my will on Congress -- the Congress of the United States -- even though sometimes I wish I could.” Yes, he does. And he does everything in his power to exceed his constitutional bounds. And he said this in Burma, a military dictatorship for decades, shortly after calling it Myanmar, the name for the country used by the military dictatorship. Talk about undermining America on the world stage.
Obama moved on to freedom from want, which he said was accomplished through private property which could be seized by government. Really. Here was his take on how economics makes peoples prosperous:
When ordinary people have a say in their own future, then your land can’t just be taken away from you. And that's why reforms must ensure that the people of this nation can have that most fundamental of possessions -- the right to own the title to the land on which you live and on which you work. When your talents are unleashed, then opportunity will be created for all people …. as more wealth flows into your borders, we hope and expect that it will lift up more people. It can't just help folks at the top. It has to help everybody. And that kind of economic growth, where everybody has opportunity -- if you work hard, you can succeed -- that's what gets a nation moving rapidly when it comes to develop.
When Obama moved on to freedom of worship, he moved back into his “red states and blue states” nonsense from the campaign. Instead of taking religious differences seriously and recommending a separation of church and state, Obama talked happy talk about culture:
My own country and my own life have taught me the power of diversity. The United States of America is a nation of Christians and Jews, and Muslims and Buddhists, and Hindus and non-believers. Our story is shaped by every language; it’s enriched by every culture. We have people from every corners of the world. We’ve tasted the bitterness of civil war and segregation, but our history shows us that hatred in the human heart can recede; that the lines between races and tribes fade away. And what’s left is aWell, e pluribus unum, until such time as Obama needs
simple truth: e pluribus unum -- that’s what we say in America. Out of many, we are one nation and we are one people. And that truth has, time and again, made our union stronger. It has made our country stronger. It’s part of what has made America great.
Finally, Obama addressed freedom from fear. He didn’t talk about the need to discard tyrannical societies. Instead, he talked in vague terms about xenophobia, fear of change, and the like. Some more typical Obama happy talk:
In many ways, fear is the force that stands between human beings and their dreams. Fear of conflict and the weapons of war. Fear of a future that is different from the past. Fear of changes that are reordering our societies and economy. Fear of people who look different, or come from a different place, or worship in a different way. In some of her darkest moments, when Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned, she wrote an essay about freedom from fear. She said fear of losing corrupts those who wield it -- “Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it, and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” That's the fear that you can leave behind. We see that chance in leaders who are beginning to understand that power comes from appealing to people’s hopes, not people's fears. We see it in citizens who insist that this time must be different, that this time change will come and will continue. As Aung San Suu Kyi wrote: “Fear is not the natural state of civilized man.” I believe that.What does any of this mean? Even Obama would be hard-pressed to explain.