“The power to lead is the power to mislead, and the power to mislead is the power to destroy.”~Thomas S. Monson
When I was around fifteen, I had a terrifying dream. A nightmare if you will. I dreamt I went downstairs in my own home at the time because I heard my mom knocking at the back door. Our door was one with a big window built in, so I could instantly see that it was her. As I reached out to unlock the door, something stopped me. I felt oddly uncomfortable about letting her in. My hand fell to my side and I just stared at her. The longer I stood there, the more agitated she became. "Let me in please!" she pleaded. And why shouldn't I? Something held me back though. It looked like my mom, it sounded like my mom, but yet instinctively I knew that something was off, and it scared me. She went from asking nicely, to agitation, to anger. She started to pace back and forth on the back porch, seething with rage. "LET ME IN!!" I remember wanting to cry I was so afraid. I didn't know why I wouldn't let her in. Was it something about her eyes, her body language? Despite the fact that this was my mom out there, a strong instinct held me back and I instead drew the blinds on the door. The dream ended with the sounds of her pounding on the glass and screaming at me. I woke up gasping and terrified.
I walked around with the residue of that dream the entire day. It disturbed me on a level I could not shake. The images, the sounds, the way it made me feel. I was a girl haunted.
Later that day, still upset, I finally approached my mom and I will remember this moment vividly and always. She was at the stove, browning hamburger meat, looking and feeling utterly like the woman I had always loved and felt safe with. In one breath I spilled out the events of my dream the night before, told her how it had affected me, and asked her what she thought it could mean. I get chills now thinking of it. She stirred the meat for a minute more, looked up with her kind, wise eyes and said, "Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing."
A wave of peace washed over me, and I knew without a doubt that that was the lesson I was to take from the experience, and I have carried it with me always, as if it were yesterday. Time and time again throughout my life, I have been able to spot the wolves, cleverly disguised, before most. There is not a face we trust more than that of our mother. So to be able to look past the most endearing of facades, and see the heart of something and know whether their intentions be good or evil has spared me heart ache many a time over. I have always been grateful to the Lord for this insight and that it continues to bless me to this day.
Last night, after a particularly challenging "mom day" at home, I informed my husband we were going out. I didn't care where, but, he would be taking me out on a date. He made mention of a documentary he had been hearing some buzz about called 2016: Obama's America. The premise initially bored me, but combined with Mexican food and some time away, I could sit through anything.
After a long week at work of late nights and early mornings, and a belly full of brisket tacos, my husband promptly fell asleep when the lights went down. I on the other hand, wide awake with heartburn and a baby wriggling inside of me, watched on, not knowing really what to expect. I was soon rapt with attention.
Four years ago, I watched with the rest of the American public as a charismatic Senator Obama, from my much-loved state of Illinois, addressed the public, time and time again. As I saw the emotional response he was evoking in the American people in a very short amount of time, my radar pinged once again. More than once I pictured that scene of my mom pacing the back porch. Feeling rather than knowing it was her, but not her.
"Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing." It was instinct at a very base level. Despite outward appearances and reassurances, something very important was off. Do NOT let him in the door, my gut screamed at me.
Know this now. My political beliefs and convictions are irrelevant here. So are yours. Republican, Democrat, Independent, what have you. In 2016: Obama's America, best-selling author, Dinesh D'Souza searches to find answers to Obama's past. D'Souza asks the initial questions that had crept into my mind all throughout the last election. Who IS Barack Obama? He had come out of nowhere, no one seemingly knew him or what he was about, yet suddenly America got swept up in this giant wave of Obama that was strong and powerful enough to carry him into the White House. How? Why? I remember hearing him give speeches and addresses and being left with the feeling that he hadn't really said anything of value or direction. Rhetoric, platitudes and redirection. Yet, when he spoke, people listened. Burnt out on a war that people had lost passion for, an economy that was not as strong as it had been just years before, the idea of a "new America" spoke to so many hearts across the nation. Hope and Change meant a fresh approach to the ideals that have always made America great. It also couldn't help but pull deeply at your heartstrings that a mere fifty years after the civil rights movement, we could have an African-American president. The level of hate and fear in our country a few decades ago was now being transcended, and we were a part of it.
But, as the documentary states, this was an accomplishment of the American people, not Obama. He knew that this redemptive power could sweep him into office, and it did. His agenda went unnoticed, his background and belief system went widely unchecked. His family, his friends, his mentors, the people who shaped his view on the world were blatantly overlooked in favor of the image and imaginations the American public wanted to see and feel. People didn't want to know who Obama was. They just wanted this man to be president. They wanted to be able to tell their grandchildren that they were a part of this historic time in history. That chance to be a part of a redemptive moment in history overrode our instincts.
Make no mistake. His agenda is neither liberal nor conservative. He hasn't made any moves over the last four years that have made sense to either party. A series of random and odd displacements of power and control. There is a reason why both the left and right are disappointed and at the very least, scratching their heads after four years. There has been little "hope and change," but a series of strategic anti-American moves that (if he is left even more to his own devices these next four years with no election to win), will allow him to, brick-by-brick, unbuild all that Americans hold dear. All that makes our country great will be leveled in one quick but devastating swoop.
The truth of the matter is that the American people elected a man to the highest level of power, gave him the keys to the land of our inheritance and we knew literally nothing about him or his belief system. During D'Souza's journey to understand Obama, he discovers how Hope and Change became radically misunderstood. That his new slogan "Forward" has a now ominous tone when you understand what drives him and what his core beliefs about America are. What would someone do if they felt that America became great only on the backs of third world countries and industry? What if that someone, who constantly maintained his disdain for the "rich," and the one percent, recognized that even the poorest of people in America are still considered "rich" on a global level? What if your deepest convictions were to dismantle and distribute wealth and power evenly not to your country, but globally? The answers will haunt you.
I grew up in mainly a blue collar, hard-working, predominately liberal America, and since college, have lived in more conservative America. I see and respect both sides of the political coin; even to understand that it's not just two sides. There are many facets, ideas, hopes, beliefs and convictions that make up the American tapestry. That ability to question, to defend, to debate, to think outside the box, is part of the American formula that sets us apart. The ceiling is low in other countries, but here in America, we can rise as high as our ideas, imaginations and creativity will take us. All political parties ultimately believe in this and want great things for America, they just have different paths and opinions on how to get there.
What we have not fully seen is that a path to a better, stronger America has not been forged these last four years. Because we chose not to know who we put in office, a path has been forged, not to a renewed America, but to a completely different America. A leveled and broken America. That change will have repercussions and consequences that extend far beyond our own lakes and rivers, to foreign oceans and continents.
I plead with you. See 2016: Obama's America. Once we choose to see, the truth is painfully clear. As powerful an office as the President is, we still have the time and power to change our destiny and protect what is rightfully ours and our posterity's. To redirect America to what it has always been. Not conservative or liberal. Not red or blue. Not wrong or right.