Compassion, Respect, Humanity, a 2nd Term?!1
January 21, 2013 by Jan Stone
The partying continues as the 2nd inauguration for President Obama turns into some nice Al Green dance steps with wife Michelle. He deserves the night. He is a great man with a great vision, and what makes him so is his journey never wavers off the high road. Should he be a cynic by now? Given how he’s been treated, absolutely. We as a country should be grateful he ran for a 2nd term. He cares about those who aren’t cared for; he believes still that the best in each of us will find its way to help the many in need. He believes sacrifice is a quality defined by Americans. A helping hand is not a cliché, it’s an expectation on us to assist others who are unable to help themselves.
”We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”
The moment I heard those comments from President Obama’s inaugural speech I laughed, knowing those very words are inciting outrage across the country, skewing wildly to the white caucasian profile who believe those are entitlements only for other white caucasian brethren who somehow fell into hardship. It’s a disagreement that gets nasty quickly. Name-calling, socialist among the least offensive, is the specific outrage from a former friend who inherited his father’s business and lives in custom-built mansion. He never once had to think about coming home to tell his family his job was cut, and with it the family insurance and maybe the house depending upon the bank who held the mortgage. Entitlements are okay as long as they are for those nice white families living mostly in the suburbs buying a new car every two years.
I can’t handle that brand of hypocrisy, thus I’ve fought back issue after issue, stunned by the assumption that help with heat, food, healthcare and housing is a color-based issue. What arrogance and even greater ignorance. I’ve had to apply for food assistance, and the reality I was once a VP at a large agency meant zip. It’s hard to get food stamps, and anyone who doesn’t think so has not–and you can bank on this–done their homework. During any job search, a great education and experience does not ensure anyone the same level job just exported to China. It’s humbling having to take whatever is offered when we know the suits that made the cuts landing us in an unemployment line won’t hire employees at our salary range anymore because there’s much cheaper help elsewhere.
But as the president said today “name-calling is not productive debate.” Now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, I’m hoping I’ve been dead wrong, and there’s been no outrage over the above paragraph from the president’s speech. After all, of course compassion, respect and humanity for all is what makes this country great. Of course it is….
When having a friendly discussion with a fellow liberal ( I feel compelled to point out this person is a small business owner), we were trying to get to the heart of the differences between liberal and conservative on this particular issue. What we decided is that those of us on the liberal side that have been successful (and there are many of us, despite the liberal stereotype we hear so often from the conservative radio talking heads) view our success as having been a combination of hard work, being in the right place at the right time, ducking at the right time, some great advice from someone important in our life, and having had some good breaks in life. Whereas those on the conservative side tend to view their success as 100% self created.
Personally, I know I’ve always felt that being on the wrong side of successful can come quickly and without someone deserving it. A natural disaster. A poorly timed job loss. A bad career decision. The “wrong” looks. The “wrong” personality. These are things we have no control over and it could happen to any of us.