It’s Twilight in America

by | Nov 7, 2012

It's not twilight in America because Obama won. Obama won because it was, sadly, already twilight in America.

Bill O’Reilly said it well—and honestly: “It’s not a traditional America anymore, and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama.”

Twenty years ago, O’Reilly said, Obama would have been “roundly defeated by an establishment candidate” like Romney. “The white establishment is now the minority,” he added. “The voters, many of them, feel this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff.”

The primary issue is not race. It’s outlook. You have basically two types of people, when considered in the context of electoral politics.

One wants to do, and wants to be left alone to do it. The other wants to get, not in the traditional American sense of pursuing happiness…but to have goodies to which one is entitled, and provided for by others.

Since the welfare/entitlement state began in earnest, back in the 1930s, the trend has been consistent and steady. Ignore the periods of exception or backing off the trend, such as when Eisenhower or Reagan were President. These periods were the exception, not the norm. They did not represent the steady direction the country was taking, even at those times.

Before Obama, presidential elections were usually decided by the state of the economy. This is because most people, before Obama, wanted a thriving economy above all else.

Things have changed.

The fact that Obama—an open redistributer of wealth—won the first time was an indication that perhaps something had changed in American society. Was it the economic panic in the fall of 2008? Or was it something deeper? The key was to see if he won reelection, or not.

Particularly in a bad economy, by the old standards Obama was doomed to lose in 2012—even in a landslide, as Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan back in 1980.

Instead, Obama won. Before 2012, this would not have been possible in America. At the end of the day, a majority would never have voted back into office a President presiding over such a lousy economy. Obama himself, back in 2009, predicted he would not be a two-term President if the economy didn’t appreciably improve. The economy did not appreciably approve. Yet Obama won anyway.

Obama obviously has great gratitude and regard for his supporters, and they will no doubt be rewarded. But how much respect do you really think he has for a population who reelected him, even in defiance of his own prediction three years earlier?

Some have speculated that Hurricane Sandy turned the tide. It’s impossible to prove this, especially since the hurricane did not directly affect two-thirds or more of the country. But if this theory is right, it only strengthens my point. The electorate of America now cares more about being cared for than about having the freedom to care for themselves.

This is so not the America of 1776. There are still good and great people to be found in this society, and some of them will perhaps still manage to flourish, unless liberty perishes altogether and some kind of a dictatorship takes hold in coming decades. (It certainly can, on our current course, especially with continued debt, deficits and economic decline.)

One thing is for sure. Those of us who yearn to think, live self-responsibly and independently must share a society with a plurality of people who would rather force others to take care of them. Not every single person who voted for Obama is a mooching dependent of the welfare state, of course. The truth is much uglier than that. The majority of people live their lives in such fear—even if they’re doing quite well for themselves—that they chose to support the least freedom loving President in our relatively young nation’s history. Obama provides them with the illusion that they’re not alone, even though they are more alone with a hack like Obama, not less.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Mitt Romney could never have saved America. Nor could have any of his rivals. Nobody can save Americans from themselves. I’m not proud to be part of a society like this, and I don’t want to be part of it. But that’s where we are.

It’s not an “economic system” that most Americans feel is stacked against them. It’s reality. They want a shield from reality, and they think that politicians can provide it for them. As a decreasing number of productive, self-responsible and wealth-producing people are expected to provide more and more goodies for them, it will be interesting to see how well that works out for them.

I often wonder what’s next for this country. Now we know. Half the country is in some form committed to freedom and individual rights, and half committed to the “freedom” to have what they want, actually or potentially provided by others. It seems to me like this is a recipe if not for a civil war, for a steady disintegration of the society and political system we have up until now taken for granted. How much longer can we take it all for granted?

Obama has won, and it’s twilight in America.

It’s not twilight in America because Obama won. Obama won because it was, sadly, already twilight in America.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at:

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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