As I write, I am looking out the window at the gradual but remorseless deconstruction of one of the oldest structures in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the heritage-designated Ogilvy Building. Built in 1907, it had stood empty for the last 20 years and left to deteriorate, until it was recently condemned. According to the Ottawa Citizen for December 17, 2012, this well-staffed and popular emporium “was the place to shop for ‘quality’ goods of every description…founded on the motto ‘Good Merchandise, At a Fair Price, With Service.” With its buff-colored brick facade, large wood-framed windows, high ceilings, ornamental metal cornices and panels decorated with the ‘tree-of-life’ motif, it was an imposing municipal landmark. It now resembles an architectural carcass, its top two floors reduced to a heap of rubble, the medallions and wall plaques scraped away, the sculpted pillars lopped like amputated limbs, the decorative linear meanders chiselled off, and the remaining bricks sandblasted to a lackluster grey. An army of industrious laborers wielding jackhammers and scurrying about in tractors are chipping and hacking away at the once-solid grandeur of what, for a time, seemed indestructible.
“Another emblem there,” said poet William Butler Yeats, mourning the passing of a rich and storied world, “in memory glorified.” But now, “all is changed.” And so it is with the Shining City on the Hill, thanks to a president whose actions belie what appears to be an underlying purpose, namely, the erosion of the structures that sustain the greatest republican enterprise in history.
I have been suspicious of Obama from the very beginning of his meteoric national career. I could not understand how a man with so obscure a dossier, very few salient records disclosed to the public; with little or no executive or working experience; and affiliated with a host of decidedly shady characters—communist poet and activist Frank Marshall Davis, former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi, unrepentant former terrorist Bill Ayers, America-and-Jew bashing Jeremiah Wright, corrupt financier Tony Rezko, racist leader of the Nation of Islam Louis Farrakhan, to name only a few—could captivate the media, bask in the glow of an adoring public, receive the Democratic nomination, and then be elected to the presidency of the United States.
My suspicion of the man’s bona fides deepened even more after the Honduras affair in July 2009, in which Obama (and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton) sided with leftwing strongman Manuel Zelaya, implicated in a conspiracy to overturn the civil Constitution of the country, and against the democratic legislature that had deposed him. The historically invalid and politically tendentious Cairo speech, the evident shilling for the Palestinians and their flagrantly concocted narrative of ancestral title, the clear animus against Israel and the outrageous treatment meted out to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu only confirmed my misgivings concerning the president’s political agenda.
That an American president should cozy up to the Venezuelan leftist dictator and bow from the waist to the Saudi monarch was beyond my comprehension. (And more recently, his hearting of Turkish autocrat and neo-Ottoman jihadist Recep Tayyip Erdogan as his personal “friend and colleague” is only a further indication of Obama’s troubling and discreditable policies.) That he should see to the massive increase of the American debt within only a few years and apply himself, in the words of Victor Davis Hanson, to “tun[ing] a properly moribund economy,”—i.e., “ensuring 50 million on food stamps, putting over 80,000 a month on Social Security disability insurance, and extending unemployment insurance to tens of millions”—was another sign that something was profoundly amiss. His bruited release of criminal illegals from American prisons defies common sense, as does his refusal to patrol and seal the incendiary border with Mexico. And that he should eagerly adopt the lifestyle of a Hollywood playboy and the jet-setting 1%, in defiance of his own proletarian rhetoric, while the country was foundering economically and absorbing one setback after another in the international theater, should have earned him the distrust of every sentient American citizen. Another stain on this dismal record of political degeneracy is his abandonment of the American ambassador and his entourage in Libya, leading to the death of four Americans.