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Obama has no clue about our “Sputnik Moment”

January 26, 2011

Much hay is being made about what President Obama has called a “sputnik moment”, supposedly the realization in America that another country has passed us by in some way.  His reference was to clean energy, and China was providing the sputnik.  This, along with most of his platitude laden speech, was all part of a magic show chock full of smoke and mirrors.  America’s “sputnik moment” started happening many years ago, before the Soviet Union launched the satellite that gives us the phrase.

Our real sputnik moment was when we stopped leading the world.  When we collectively decided America was not fit to be the moral champion she once was.  When it was decided that America’s past wrongs were sins passed on to her children, and no amount of remorse or repair could wipe the stain of those transgressions from liberty’s frock.

I think if you traced the signs of the beginning of America’s decline, most of those markers would point to the first half of the twentieth century.  That was the when the first inklings of collective responsibility started boring into the conscious of America’s body politic, helped along by progressives of course.  The most egregious example of this is the United Nations.

In essence, what is the UN?  It is a large group of countries that allows all members to submit personal responsibility to a faceless entity.  If gives voice to countries run by brutal dictators, murdering communist governments, drug producing cartels and imperialist nations.  How can all those countries be so bad if they belong to the UN?  How can their transgressions be properly shunned by the rest of humanity if they sit side-by-side with countries like America and Britain who fight against these causes?  America can not lead if she is willing to submit to a body that is by definition, incapable of leading.

The US Army’s definition of leadership is as follows:

Leadership is influencing people — by providing purpose, direction, and motivation — while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization.

The UN does not do this, and unfortunately, neither do our “leaders”.  Our leaders almost universally fail in providing purpose.  They use failed platitudes and threats as an attempt at dropping the carrot of purpose in our eyes, but those methods are obviously hollow and lead to resentment rather than acceptance.  But what our leaders fail in most is what America is failing in most – responsibility.

Why do general’s make so much money?  Or doctors?  Or CEO’s?  Not because they are good leaders (though most are), but because at the end of the day, they are ultimately responsible for their organizations.  For those not familiar with the military, the head General of a unit truly doesn’t do that much.  Surely he provides purpose, direction and motivation, but on a small scale, mostly directed at the leadership below him.  He does not draw up battle plans, nor strategic plans.  He does not hold a gun and fight on the frontlines.  A General’s sole purpose in life is to be responsible.  If things go good, he is allowed to take credit; if things go bad, he is to be held accountable, even if it wasn’t his fault.  That is the key to being responsible, everything is your fault.

And that is where our politicians fail us.  When things go good, they are more than happy to take responsibility.  But, when things go bad, they blame it on someone else, usually on us.  Obama is a shining example of this complete lack of leadership.  He is probably the most narcissistic leader in American history, taking credit for things any reasonable person would never submit to confer on him.  He is aided by his talking heads in the media and in the  Democrat party, but he does it himself as well.  But, when the crap hits the fan, he blames either “the failures of the past” or America.  Raise your hand if you can remember the last time he accepted responsibility for a failure?

But Obama is not alone, Clinton, both Bushes, Carter, Johnson and on and on all share in this despicable lack of leadership.  The only two exceptions of late were JFK and Reagan.  They knew how to lead – up front and with responsibility.  They did not create 53 czars so they could spread that responsibility to as many people as possible.  They did not massively increase the government bureaucracy to accomplish the same goal.  They did not submit to some outside body for guidance (I know JFK dealt with the UN during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but he sorta had to).  They both understood that if America is to lead, then they needed to lead.

America has been without a rudder for decades now.  Our “leadership” does not know the meaning of the word, and unfortunately, most of our populace doesn’t either, fore if they did we never would have elected such a hollow suit as Obama in the first place.  Leadership is not looking to the latest poll to determine your next course of action, it is doing what you believe consequences be damned!  And if those consequences are bad, then leadership is stepping up and submitting your mea culpa to the people who look up to you.

Our sputnik moment happened years ago, when we stopped electing leaders and started electing people who talked good but had nothing behind their words.  If we are to have an Apollo moment, then we need to reverse this trend, and elect people who can actually lead us into the future.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2011 1:25 pm

    The biggest hypocrisy in this was where he praised NASA and all the things that sprang out of the space program, while he is responsible for largely gutting our current space program and turning NASA from space exploration into a touchy feely self esteem program.

    • January 27, 2011 3:18 am

      Yep, we must use NASA to make Islam feel better about being stuck in the 7th century.

  2. January 26, 2011 6:48 pm

    “…and elect people who can actually lead us into the future.”
    Now there is a novel idea.

    Great post my friend.

    • January 27, 2011 3:18 am

      Thanks. =)

  3. January 26, 2011 8:19 pm

    Another hit out of the park. You’re able to write what a lot of us think, but are unable to articulate. Thanks.


    • January 27, 2011 3:18 am

      Thank you so much for the kind words. =)

  4. January 26, 2011 8:34 pm

    Great post! We now have elected officials who are unwilling to state a position directly because they want to have wiggle room for re-election instead of standing up and saying “this is who I am” and letting the people decide whether or not they should lead us. But you are also right because the people don’t care about leadership any more, they simply vote for the person that promises them the most. Until we begin to stand up and take responsibility for our action we will continue to spiral out of control.

    • January 27, 2011 3:19 am

      Yes sir.

  5. JustFacts permalink
    January 26, 2011 9:26 pm

    Another very good post Fleece. Keep it up. You are making a difference.

    But – I have to disagree with you on your inclusion of JFK as a true leader. First, he wasn’t president long enough to REALLY see where he was going. Unfortunately, the asassination coverage has tended to cover-up a lot of his policy failings. These included, the construction of the Berlin Wall after he confronted the Soviet Union, the aborted Bay of Pigs invasion (when he got cold feet and left the insurgents stranded), and the formation of the Peace Corps (a completely worthless touchy-feely program that cost us Billions, and paid no dividends in our world staturs). I was a teenager when all of this took place, and even to my immature eyes, I could see that JFK was in way over his pay grade. We lucked-out on the Cuban Missile Crisis because Khrushchev blinked. I was fifteen when all this was going on, and believe me, it was scarey. Then of course there was always his Ich bin ein Berliner moment.

    So, while I agree with your post, I think a more in-depth analysis of JFK would show that he was, in fact, in the group with the others you mentioned. That would leave the only real leader since WWII as being Ronaldus Magnus. If only we could get some of his DNA and inject it into some of our current politicians. It would take too long to clone him, and we are running out of time.

    • January 27, 2011 3:21 am

      I was not around for JFK, so maybe he is getting the benefit of the doubt and an overly kind history. I would like to note he lowered taxes, stating the obvious that it would help the economy. This could not have been popular with the progressives at the time. As far as his mis-spoken German phrase, I can’t hold anyone to much to account for that, I did vote for Bush twice, lol.

  6. January 27, 2011 12:12 am

    The Russians didn’t care who died or what the cost was to get their hunk of metal into orbit. While Sputnik was unmanned, they didn’t take the same cautions with human life in the design and building of their rockets that we did. I don’t think Americans would have gone into space much later than they did without Sputnik to remind us we weren’t there first. Obama made a false analogy in his speech.

    • January 27, 2011 3:23 am

      Yeah, Sputnik was not the real catalyst, it was them sending up Gagarin up that woke us up to the fact we were in a true space race. And you are most definitely correct they russkies had no care for losses, but they never did in regards to military technology – their nuke subs were death traps.

  7. January 27, 2011 1:16 am

    Fantastic work Fleece. We are so far into la-la land with our government, that I have to step away and think things through. We need leaders, and good ones, but that requires us to show some leadership in supporting good men and women that would make a difference.

    • January 27, 2011 3:24 am

      Yes sir, you are exactly right.

  8. January 27, 2011 2:17 am

    Shall we blame the leaders or the ones who put them there? After all, we already knew what kind of people they were before they took office.

    • January 27, 2011 3:25 am

      Oh, its most definitely our fault. This is our government, we need to start demanding more from the people we elect to represent us.

  9. January 27, 2011 7:00 am

    Obama’s speech hook, using Sputnik, fell flat as far as I’m concerned. It was a stretch and historically inaccurate in many respects.

    • January 28, 2011 1:22 am

      Most of his speech fell flat – he is so condescending its nauseating. He tries to sound like the wise teacher, but he comes off as snobby know-it-all. Not to mention, its hard to listen to someone who is all theory and no application.

  10. January 27, 2011 12:00 pm

    I went to bed early instead of watching the SOTU. Thanks for taking one of the team and listening to the drivel.

    Great post. You are right, leadership is key. True leadership means keeping those who you lead in a higher priority than the security of your position as leader. How many elected officials today would do that?

    And why have we continued electing them? It was easier for awhile. Now it’s just getting too scary.

    I believe that one day America will see the election of Obama as a sputnik moment.

    • January 28, 2011 1:23 am

      Hmm, interesting, Obama is our Sputnik moment. You might very well be right on that one. Good call.

  11. LD Jackson permalink
    January 27, 2011 11:09 pm

    Well done, Colin.

    The lack of real leadership is one thing that is hurting our country. Another is the lack of proper participation in the electoral system by the American people. Many of us can’t be bothered to vote, saying there is no use. Others cast their votes for everything but the right reasons. The result has been that our elected officials are not held accountable. Until that changes, we will see more of the same.

    • January 28, 2011 1:25 am

      More of the same and worse. We have almost elected an outright socialist. How long will it be before someone actually runs as a vocal socialist and gets elected?


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