An Analysis of Common Threads in Obama's Speeches
by Kevin H. Wirth, ARN Director of Product Development and Media Relations
Watching Obama's speech yesterday about Guantanamo Bay Detainees was a fascinating exercise. After watching the soundbites on the news, I then watched both former VP Dick Cheney and President Obama deliver their dueling speeches on C-SPAN about their views of how the Gitmo detainee issue should be managed, as well as their clearly differing notions of the legality, morality, and use of enhanced interrogation techniques. I came away from that experience thinking that Obama had taken the high ground and was working to uphold our values and improve our legal framework, as he stated so forcefully in his speech. His oratory was stirring.
These steps are all critical to keeping America secure. But I believe with every fiber of my being that in the long run we also cannot keep this country safe unless we enlist the power of our most fundamental values. The documents that we hold in this very hall - the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights - these are not simply words written into aging parchment. They are the foundation of liberty and justice in this country, and a light that shines for all who seek freedom, fairness, equality, and dignity around the world.
The American people are not absolutist, and they don't elect us to impose a rigid ideology on our problems. They know that we need not sacrifice our security for our values, nor sacrifice our values for our security, so long as we approach difficult questions with honesty and care and a dose of common sense. That, after all, is the unique genius of America. That's the challenge laid down by our Constitution. That has been the source of our strength through the ages. That's what makes the United States of America different as a nation.
I can stand here today, as president of the United States, and say without exception or equivocation that we do not torture, and that we will vigorously protect our people while forging a strong and durable framework that allows us to fight terrorism while abiding by the rule of law. Make no mistake: If we fail to turn the page on the approach that was taken over the past several years, then I will not be able to say that as president. And if we cannot stand for our core values, then we are not keeping faith with the documents that are enshrined in this hall. 
"Who in their right mind," I thought "could possibly argue with what Obama is saying here?" But then I was slapped back to reality after reading Hern Denenberg's reflections of Obama in the wake of his speech at the Univeristy of Notre Dame's Commencement a few days ago.
[Obama] started implementing his radical pro-abortion, pro-infanticide agenda the minute he became president. Almost immediately he brought the U.S. taxpayer back into the racket of funding overseas abortion. He authorized the destruction of human embryos at home. He loaded his administration with the most pro-abortion appointees he could find. This was his radical pro-abortion reflex at work. There was no reaching out. There was no attempt to touch hearts and minds. There was no attempt to achieve some sort of bipartisanship consensus or dialogue. He rammed those pro-Obama measures through with no reaching out, no dialog, no common ground and none of the other rhetorical flowers. He didn't even try to fake bipartisanship. He talks it, but never makes the most minor moves in the direction of bipartisanship. The gap between talk and reality is so extreme it defies rational explanation. 
Regardless of where you fall on the issue of abortion, and even though I disagree with Denenberg that Obama "never" seeks bipartisanship, I have to agree with Denenberg's characterization of Obama's performance thus far: he often says one thing and does another.
Obama's swift action on the closure of Guantanamo Bay shortly after taking office (without first having worked with congress to gain support for a plan on what to do with the Gitmo detainees) reveals a disturbing eagerness to place taking action well in front of checking in with that ever elusive (and some say non-existant) governmental agency known as the Department of Common Sense.
There is a more far-reaching and legitimate question that pops into my mind as I consider Obama's approach: will he consistently defend the rights of Americans who are currently being subjected to different forms of abuse that I'm beginning to think might qualify as terrorism? I hear lots of talk these days about the rights we should afford to illegal aliens who break our laws, and the rights of terrorists who have the ultimate ambition of killing us all, but what I don't hear much about is how the rights of our legitimate citizens are being better protected. Especially at risk are the rights of dissidents within our citizen ranks. How are we protecting these ordinary citizens when their freedoms come under attack? More on that in a minute...
But, back to Obama's sobering speech yesterday on the closure of Guantanamo Bay. In that speech he made it crystal clear that he is seeking to establish a new respect for the rule of law where his role as President is concerned. He made the point that he sees himself as subject to the checks and balances put in place by the Constitution (ie, via the courts and congress) over his actions -- and promised to be more diligent in making sure that his approach will promote transparency and reestablish the credibility of his office so sorely lacking in his predecessor.
Ironically enough, even as Obama was delivering his speech, Congress voted to deny him the funds he requested to close Guantanamo Bay unless and until he first proposes an acceptable plan for what to do with the detainees currently being held there. And further, I have no doubt such a plan must also meet with bipartisan approval of congress before the President gets to have his way with shutting down the facility.
So I am assuming that Mr. Obama, if he really meant what he said in his speech yesterday, will respect the action of congress in this matter and will not dispute their nearly unanimous vote or say anything ill of it, since after all, they were exercising the very checks and balances he had taken great pains to point out are a necessary part of our Democratic rule. That said, I also think the congressional opposition in this matter reflects a strong example of failure on the part of Team Obama to first establish common ground with congress and spare themselves the embarrassment of acting in haste to (as Denenberg stated) "[ram] those pro-Obama measures through with no reaching out, no dialog, no common ground..."
So what, you might ask, does all this have to do with other types of domestic terrorism?
Well, there currently exists under Obama's watch perhaps one of the most onerous abuses of our freedoms and Civil Rights that one could imagine. I'm speaking about Americans, not Islamic terrorists. Many of the freedoms guaranteed to all Americans are currently and have been under attack, but these actions are usually referred to as discrimination. I'm beginning to wonder if these actions shouldn't be classified as a form of terrorism. Who is under attack? The dissidents in our culture. These are the folks who challenge the conventional views held within our scientific, philosophical, and academic communities. But they are often made to pay a huge price for speaking their mind. Many freedoms have been stripped from dissident educators, students, and scientists who disagree with conventional wisdom on issues considered settled by many experts. They are often dismissed as kooks, pseudoscientists, and charlatans who we should either ignore or consider as serious threats to the survival of our society -- depending on who you talk to. The problem is, these dissidents often turn out to have their finger on some aspect of reality that conventional wisdom overlooks.
Many dissidents not only lose their jobs, but their careers are often ruined. The impact of such actions often results in the failure of marriages and families, and financial losses that are at times unrecoverable, and plunge victims into many years or even a lifetime of debt.
Darwin skeptics are but one group of dissidents who have suffered incredible losses for their views. The clear practice of religious and viewpoint discrimination against them, which has played out in the background of our culture for decades, has only recently surfaced as a barely noticeable issue in 2008 with the release of the movie "Expelled" and the publication of the book "Slaughter of the Dissidents. Both the movie and the book expose a type of discrimination that deprives these US citizens of many of their most basic Civil Rights, and is a serious affront to the Rule of Law. I've notices that little, if anything, is currently being done to remedy the situation.
This is not a trivial matter, either, though many might suggest it is behind the backdrop of the crisis-laden issues we are facing today. This matter is significant for several reasons, but this one stands out: if one class of people can be denied their constitutionally protected freedoms, then so can any other group. It is in this sense that all Americans of differing views are bound together under a common bond: freedom of speech belongs to ALL Americans, not just some. This issue is also important because in the end, the result of this brand of discrimination breeds a form of intellectual terrorism that has stripped the academic and scientific communities of dissenters who might otherwise offer an important and much-needed perspective to their students and colleagues. Many dissenters who remain in those communities stay in the closet and are in fear of losing their careers if they even offer a hint of disagreement over evolution. Even worse, such discrimination causes irreparable harm to the fabric of our freedoms the longer it is allowed to continue. And when it is allowed to persist, those who practice discrimination feel emboldened to continue doing so, since no one is effectively challenging them and requiring them to cease from their actions.
The law is clear: it demands that all of us be allowed to speak freely, and to offer dissenting views without any threat of coercion or loss of career, either actual or prospective.
If the President and other government agencies can become so distraught over the ill-treatment of foreign terrorists who would seek to destroy us, how can they in good conscience ignore the actions of home-grown intellectual terrorists bent on denying freedoms to our own citizens?
The Supreme Court in at least one instance left no doubt about where government intrusion on free speech is egregious.
It is axiomatic that the government may not regulate speech based on its substantive content or the message it conveys....Other principles follow from this precept. In the realm of private speech or expression, government regulation may not favor one speaker over another...Discrimination against speech because of its message is presumed to be unconstitutional...These rules informed our determination that the government offends the First Amendment when it imposes financial burdens on certain speakers based on the content of their expression...When the government targets not subject matter, but particular views taken by speakers on a subject, the violation of the First Amendment is all the more blatant...Viewpoint discrimination is thus an egregious form of content discrimination. The government must abstain from regulating speech when the specific motivating ideology or the opinion or perspective of the speaker is the rationale for the restriction...Vital First Amendment speech principles are at stake here. The first danger to liberty lies in granting the State the power to examine publications to determine whether or not they are based on some ultimate idea and, if so, for the State to classify them. The second, and corollary, danger is to speech from the chilling of individual thought and expression. That danger is especially real in the University setting, where the State acts against a background and tradition of thought and experiment that is at the center of our intellectual and philosophic tradition. 
Most Americans think discrimination or suppression of free speech is a minor issue in our society, and that our government doesn't tolerate it. After all, we do have laws designed to protect us from those who violate our rights. Sadly, the enforcement of the law on behalf of Darwin skeptics is typically sidestepped. The history of abuse by intellectual terrorists and Darwin fascists has just begun to be documented and is irrefutable. And, it presents Obama and Co. with a clear example of violations he says he will not tolerate. Terrorism of any kind that threatens the freedoms of any Americans should neither be excused or ignored. "Keeping faith," as Obama puts it, with our founding documents, starts at home with how we treat our own citizens.
If Obama really is all about "Change we can believe in," then I expect to see him respond to this and other similar issues by coming to the defense of victims of discrimination. I eagerly await his response when he is confronted with such atrocities. Will he take action to ensure that the rights of all Americans are upheld? His words say yes, but his actions leave me wondering.
DEFINITION OF TERRORISM: No one definition of terrorism has gained universal acceptance. Indeed, the singular defining quality of terrorism may be that it invites argument. The term terrorism is often thought of in the context of violence, however, this is not necessarily a requirement for a terrorist act. Sending anthrax via the mail, for example, is not a violent action, yet it is certainly considered an act of terrorism.
The FBI defines terrorism as: The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Given this definition, I would say that forcing someone out of their career against their will, intimidating them to fall in line with a philosophical position (macroevolution, HIV causes AIDS, etc.) or suffer the loss of their career, contracts, and etc. qualifies as a terrorist act.
 Los Angeles Times - Text of Obama's speech on National Security from 05/21/09http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/politics/wire/sns-ap-us-obama-text,1,121227.story?page=4
 Obama Says The Right Things, But DoesÃ¢â‚¬Ë†The Wrong Things," by Herb Denenberg, The Bulletin [Philadelphia], May 22, 2009.
 Rosenberger v. Rectors & Visitors of the Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819, 828-835, 115 S.Ct. 2510, 2516-2520 (1995).
Seattle area writer and Darwin skeptic Kevin Wirth is a founding member of ARN (formerly Students for Origins Research). He is also the Senior editor, contributor, and publisher of the book "Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters" by Dr. Jerry Bergman (2008). This is the most comprehensive book published to date documenting the extent and types of discrimination against Darwin Dissidents. He is also the publisher of Caroline Crocker's upcoming book "Free to Think," (Leafcutter Press) which addresses her critics and relates her experience as an Expelled University professor. Her book is currently slated for release in June of 2009.
To read more essays by Kevin Wirth, click here.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Kevin H. Wirth, all rights reserved. Quotes and links are welcomed with attribution.
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