Oh, how far-removed we are from what now seems like the "innocent" Bill Clinton days when all we had to worry about was the various definitions of the word "is." And now, after watching President Obama's second term inaugural address, it is clear we have a president who calls into question the meaning of the word "liberty."
It is incomprehensible that this former constitutional lawyer would argue during his speech that America has evolved to the extent "our founding documents" no longer require us to "define liberty in exactly the same way." But then again, it's not so far-fetched considering what he's done so far as well as the radicals he's wrapped his life around. Some in the mainstream media have pondered if compromising with Republicans will be part of his second term agenda, but based on his address, the short answer is "no." Put on your seat belts; we're headed for four more years of divide and conquer politics. The carnage will be immense, considering the majority of Americans are not far-left radicals.
Clearly, our founders defined liberty as the right of individuals to pursue their own interests with minimal interference from a limited government. To suggest otherwise either shows a lack of understanding of America's founding principles or a disregard for the same. Obama seems intent on widening the already colossal ideological divide.
And herein lies the complexity of a community organizer turned president: His ideology contradicts the constitution he is sworn to uphold.
If the ultimate goal is to shake up, tear down, and fundamentally transform America into the collectivist society Obama's honey-filled words dripped of, he will do so without the support of half the country. As the rest of us find ourselves scratching our heads trying to figure out where the constitutional authority exists to achieve this transformation, Obama moves forward, motivated by a ludicrous notion that the Constitution must change because times have.
Obama's inaugural speech words echoed similar thoughts from his book, "The Audacity of Hope," suggesting the Constitution "is not a static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world."
At least he is consistent. On WBEZ-FM, Chicago, 12 years ago, making a case for wealth redistribution and social justice, suggesting it would be found in what the Constitution did not say. Citing a previous court case, Obama said, "the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties" mandating "what the states can't do to you" and "what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf."
And he's lived in the gray ever since. Black and white have given way to ever-expanding shades of gray so much that listening to a policy speech from the president requires an interpreter. The inaugural speech was replete with duplicitous and eerily conservative phrasing like "equality" to conceal wealth redistribution and "safety" in "the quiet lanes of Newtown" to mask expanded gun control.
It might be time for citizens to grasp an understanding of what our founders meant when they wrote and spoke about liberty. Let me leave you with former congressman Ron Paul's definition: "Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks ... Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety ... Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen, and a false government security blanket beckons."
I still believe. How about you?
SUSAN STAMPER BROWN is an opinion page columnist, motivational speaker and military
advocate who is also nationally syndicated.