For the last seven years, I've really despised the rule of George W. Bush, and I've had moments of fear over where this country is going--not cringe-inducing fear, not "I have to leave the country because I'll be put in the gulag" fear; it was more of a dread and a sickening feeling that what I thought my country stood for had been co-opted by people who were more concerned with what was good for corporations than for citizens. But I don't think I was ever really pants-crappingly afraid.

But man, it seems like right-wingers are finding more and more stuff to really be afraid of Obama for, which is rich considering thay they've spent the last seven years using fear to push through huge restrictions on civil liberties, to start unnecessary wars, and oddly enough, to give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. And the latest thing they're crapping their pants over? An expanded Peace Corps. Seriously.

I first heard about this yesterday when an old fraternity brother barfed all over my Facebook wall, presenting this idea as if it's the end of the world, and when I googled the term, I understood why, because the top hits are all from sites like Little Green Footballs, RightWingNews, babalu, and so on. The first non-partisan mention I could find of it was on the second page, and it was an article originally printed by McClatchy News Services. Here's what Obama actually said, with some context.

Obama repeated his pledge to boost the size of the active military. But he also said the nation's future and safety depends on more than just additional soldiers.

"It also depends on the teacher in East L.A., or the nurse in Appalachia, the after-school worker in New Orleans, the Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, the Foreign Service officer in Indonesia," he said....

"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set," he said Wednesday. "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded."

He said he would make federal assistance conditional on school districts establishing service programs and set the goal of 50 hours of service a year for middle and high school students.

For college students, Obama would set the goal at 100 hours of service a year and create a $4,000 annual tax credit for college students that would be tied to that level of service.
What a shock--right-wingers are taking a portion of an Obama speech and making ludicrous claims about the content. The wingnuts are seizing on the word "powerful" and automatically assuming "armed," when the rest of the context makes clear he's talking about educators, first responders, and volunteers who spread goodwill around the world. Power doesn't have to come from the barrel of a gun, from making people afraid of you--we can see just how much it can backfire over the last seven years, after all. Live by the sword, die by the sword, anyone?

Two more days, y'all. Then we can get on with the business of rebuilding the country.

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