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The Way We Were

The Way We Were

By Marilyn Snyder

Published in the Redlands Daily Facts, October 24, 2013

Mom: If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you do the same?

You: Duh, no. (Thinking: I’ll never say such a stupid thing to my kids.”) Fast forward 25 years. You to your kid: “If your friend jumped off a cliff …? (Thinking: I can’t believe I said that!) Just as you couldn’t stop those words from coming out of your mouth, you also can’t help turning into your parents.

Think about it. Do you find yourself reprimanding your child with your parents’ words? Telling the same sto­ries? Laughing the same way?

The Bible recognized that truth. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Childhood patterns of be­havior are ingrained in our brains as our instinctive mo­dus operandi. I can remember my daughter grousing to me, “I give up! I tried for years not to be your clone and I finally real­ized I’m just like you.”

These behavior patterns are blinkers, forcing us to see the world through our childhood training.

Barack Obama in his au­tobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” describes how he was first raised by his teenage mother in Hawaii. Then at the tender age of 6, he absorbed a new Muslim step-father, an In­donesian home, language and school into the channels of his brain.

At 10 he was abruptly shipped back to Hawaii to be raised by his grandparents and where he was, according to Dinesh D’Souza in “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” mentored by Frank Marshall Davis who was a black poet and commu­nist. Obama later recognized how his grandmother “in­jected” him with a set of values “that didn’t sort of manifest themselves until I got older.”

All of these influences, young mother, Muslim step-fa­ther, Indonesian and Hawaiian culture, older grandparents, and political poet were inter­nalized, readying him for his most important training.

Barely out of college, his first Chicago job trained him to organize a commu­nity of people around an issue and pressure an agency un­til it caved to their demands. Obama used the community organizers’ rulebook: Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Rule 8 says to “Keep the pres­sure on. Never let up.”

As a community organizer, Obama used these techniques to force organizations to bend to his will in order to achieve his objectives.

His objectives may have been admirable, but the meth­ods he learned in his early 20s as well as his early behav­ior patterns continue to assert themselves today — to the det­riment of our country.

In the most recent gov­ernment shutdown debacle, Obama’s behavior defaulted in applying Alinsky’s Rule 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing it­self.”

How often did the presi­dent and his administration threaten default if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised? Where is Chicken Little when you need him?

What President Obama chooses not to recognize is that he is no longer a young man fighting against an “un­just” authority to make life better for a small group of peo­ple in Chicago. He is the Amer­ican peoples’ leader.

Republicans and Tea Par­tiers — one half of the country — aren’t his enemy. Instead, our common enemies are un­employment, the $17 trillion debt and entitlement programs that are running out of money — factors that are slowly but surely bringing America to the brink of disaster.

Yet every time, he falls back to the familiar.

Create a crisis by refusing to negotiate with “unreason­able enemies” until the day be­fore our financial world col­lapses.

In a recent speech about the shutdown, Obama said that we should “stop listening to pro­fessional activists who profit from conflict …” Yet he himself was trained as an activist who, as Marco Rubio recently said, is one of the leading causes of conflict. By failing to work on the bud­get with Republicans right now, he will, as he has with ev­ery previous monetary High Noon, create another imbro­glio.

Knowing his past, we can predict his behavior. He will wait until the last few days be­fore the deadline to call the leaders together to start nego­tiations.

He went so far this last time as to give two contradictory messages: I am willing to ne­gotiate. I refuse to negoti­ate until after the shutdown is over and the debt ceiling has been raised. Duh!

And he calls the Tea Party “extremists”!

Truly, we are what we were.