Recognize this picture? Well here’s the story behind the madness. At the beginning of this week, President Barack Obama caused tsunami level waves among conservative crowds for his comments made at a campaign stop in Virginia. At the end of this video, Obama culminates his build up by making the bold claim that, “If you’ve got a small business, you didn’t build that…” I recommend watching the clip before reading on; it’s less than one minute long.
If you are having trouble viewing this video, click here for the original on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKjPI6no5ng
Conservative audiences jumped all over this comment saying things like, “President Obama doesn’t believe in the American dream!”
When I first set out to write this column about Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment, I was going to try and just give him the benefit of the doubt; I really was. But every time I re-watched the video, I was more and more put off by his comments. However, before I go into that, let’s go over what Obama’s supporters, and those sympathetic are saying.
On the surface, these comments seem pretty normal. Nothing to scandalous about them. In fact, you can see where the president is coming from. To be quite honest with you, when I first saw the clip for myself after reading all of the hype, I thought to myself, “So what? What’s the big deal?” I wanted to join in the exposure of some radical comment but I just didn’t get it. It seemed that all he was saying was, you are where you are because other people have helped you along the way. I mean it makes sense. Even his part about the roads. I mean I guess no one could come to my business if there wasn’t a road leading up to it (but now that I think of it, they seemed to do just fine in the old west, and for all we know, in the future we might not even need roads; I guess only Marty McFly and Doc Brown can answer those questions). Forgive my aside. But anyway, all our dear president was saying was, be a little bit more grateful for your success. When you think about it like that, it doesn’t seem like that radical of a statement.
That’s just the surface though. The more I listen to this (and I’ve rewatched the video multiple times now), the more I realize just what this says about Obama’s thought process and ideology that I don’t agree with. Conservatives are talking all about how Obama doesn’t understand that small business is the lifeblood of the economy. I disagree, I think he does understand that any business is good, but there is something much more fundamental that needs be exposed.
I’m especially disturbed with his statement about being smart or working hard. Obama is in essence saying, if you’re successful, it’s not because you are smarter than the average person or that you worked harder than the average person, it’s because you got lucky. It’s because you were given that success. And I dare say, he means to say that it’s because of the poor who worked on those roads and built your building, that you are rich.
This is another example of class warfare. Obama is trying to convince people that the rich and successful are only that way because they got lucky and their success is a gift. Since it is a gift, according to Obama, they are then greedy and heartless for not wanting to give back to the people that made them that way and pay more in taxes to fund the government.
“But what about those smart kids in the intercity? Even if they work hard and are smart, can you really think that they can be as successful as the kids who went to prestigious public schools? It’s not the kid’s fault that he was born into a poor family.” I sympathize with this sentiment. I think that the way out of poverty is education. Why else do you think Mitt Romney talked so much about education reform in his speech to the NAACP. He realizes that this is an issue and wants to fix it, because it hasn’t been fixed. That being said, I say now back to you, what is the American dream anyway? The American dream is that anyone, from any walk of life, can come to America and make something of themselves. How many stories exist of people fulfilling that dream? Many.
George Romney, Mitt’s father, was so poor in Michigan that at one point he was selling paint out of the back of his car just to make a living. Because of his hard work and intelligence, he worked his way up the corporate ladder, became the president of a major American automobile manufacturer and then became governor of that very state. Was that luck? Was that because he was serendipitously handed opportunity? I don’t think so. I think he worked his tail off out of a love of family and a strong work ethic.
Obama wants us to believe that we are nothing without the government. He wants us to believe that just as God gives us everything so we should give 10%, government gives us everything so the rich should give 30%+. I don’t agree.
This kind of rhetoric is destructive, it’s divisive, and it’s the product of a master campaigner who know just what people want to hear, despite the consequences of such actions. I mean, watch the video again. Do you notice something different about our president. Hear that southern twang in his voice? He was born in Hawaii and went to school on the East Coast and ended up in Chicago. That’s not the South. But here him droppin’ the “g” as he’s speakin’? He knows his crowd (Virginia), and he’s riling them against a made up enemy…the rich.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the clip again, except this one is longer and gives more context. Listen for those things. Hear how he speaks, listen for the words he uses, and I think you’ll tend to agree with my analysis.
So, in short: On the surface, this sounds like your run of the mill liberal rhetoric, nothing too radical. But as take the statement in a greater context, you’ll find divisive politics aimed at pitting Americans against each other in a case of class warfare that is destructive to our country. We should be trying to make America a place where all can prosper, and not take from those who were successful just to make people dependent on government welfare. We need a safety net for the poor, not a hammock.
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