This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published August 19, 2013 on The Washington Times website.
It’s obviously high time for President Obama to appoint a rodeo clown czar.
He’s got more than 40 other “czars” to govern everything else. Why not create a new authority devoted to punishing people who think they live in a free country where you can make fun of the president?
On Aug. 10, a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair donned an Obama mask and stood like a straw man while another clown taunted him and then let a bull loose to chase him. The crowd roared its approval of this crude stunt.
Predictably, officials went ballistic, barring the mask-wearing clown for life. But they weren’t done. They also ordered all rodeo clowns in Missouri to undergo Mao-style sensitivity training. The horses are next, beginning with the geldings.
Meanwhile, the local NAACP called for federal investigations into this insult to Dear Leader. NAACP activists once fought for civil rights. Now they’re vying to become an American version of the silly British fascists of the 1930s lampooned in P.G. Wodehouse’s novels about Wooster and Jeeves. All they need are armbands and spats.
We could laugh, except that the NAACP’s demand reveals deeper, institutionalized problems.
The other day, before an eye exam, I was given a questionnaire with a list of racial and ethnic categories.
“What does this have to do with my eyes?” I asked the receptionist. “I see a box saying that I can refuse to answer, so I’m going to check it.”
“That’s OK,” she said. “We have to give these to everybody, and, no, you don’t have to fill it in if you don’t want to.”
But Obamacare hasn’t really kicked in. I doubt that patients will have the option to refuse next year.
It’s not just doctors’ offices feeling the heavy hand of government. Executive agencies of all kinds under Mr. Obama are flexing bureaucratic muscle over the public, which, in most cases, has no choice but to submit.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued an Orwellian proposal, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” You could not draft a better script of totalitarian rhetoric masquerading as “equal rights.”
The plan calls for federal study of all neighborhoods in the United States to secure statistically diverse populations. You do this—how? By forcing people to move? Fining them for living in certain neighborhoods? Well, they’ll figure out a way.
If you thought forced busing, which destroyed thousands of schools and ignited racial resentment, was bad, well, that was kids’ stuff compared to the grandiose scheme hatched by Mr. Obama’s housing department.
“The current practice of affirmatively furthering fair housing carried out by HUD grantees … has not been as effective as had been envisioned,” the document says.
Translation: People are choosing where to live. America still has ethnically and racially dominant neighborhoods. Some are wealthier than others. This will not do. Therefore, get a load of this next Big Brother passage:
“HUD will provide states, local governments, insular areas, and public housing agencies (PHAs), as well as the communities they serve, with data on patterns of integration and segregation; racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty; access to education, employment, low-poverty, transportation, and environmental health, among other critical assets; disproportionate housing needs based on the classes protected under the Fair Housing Act. From these data, program participants will set forth fair-housing priorities and goals.”
You thought the National Security Agency was being nosy? As a matter of fact, how do we know that the NSA is not in on this? Haven’t you noticed the trench-coated guy in your garden, peering through the window and counting heads as you sit down to dinner?
No wonder my eye doctor is being required to collect racial information. Americans are being reduced from free citizens into mere members of groups that can be advantaged or disadvantaged by power-hungry government officials.
Mr. Obama is increasingly lawless. Last month, he justified suspending the Obamacare employer mandate for one year (until after the 2014 elections), saying, “We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.” No, he didn’t. Nowhere in the Constitution is the president allowed to change laws unilaterally or refuse to enforce them. Mr. Obama and his surrogates routinely do both.
The Justice Department embraces racist policies, subverts the Defense of Marriage Act, strikes down voter-ID laws, and ships arms illegally to Mexico. The National Labor Relations Board, acting like union goons, persecutes businesses. The Environmental Protection Agency enforces laws that Congress explicitly rejected. The Department of Health and Human Services forces faith-based institutions to violate their consciences. Military chaplains are told to chuck their Bibles and salute the rainbow flag. The list is growing by the day.
Which brings us back to the fanciful rodeo clown czar.
Many Americans are asking when the House of Representatives will saddle up and begin using its power of the purse to ride herd on the administration’s lawlessness, such as the appointment of unconstitutional czars.
Right now, the House leaders look more like the rodeo clown, without the mask.