Saturday, February 14, 2009

What Obama’s Visit to Fort Myers Tells Us

Historians and other students of the American experiment in democracy (such as Tocqueville) have often warned that it would all come apart and follow other democracies into the graveyard if two things happened: if those who work and produce are overwhelmed by a class of people who only take what they can get and produce nothing, and/or if the voters become ignorant and apathetic of the issues they are called upon to decide.

Please read the following report of Obama’s visit to Fort Myers to sell his pork-stimulus bill and also view the two videos that follow. You decide where we are headed, or whether or not we are already there.

Hapless have hands out

By Michael Graham February 12, 2009

I have seen the future of the American economy, and it’s waiting for a handout in Fort Myers, Fla.

On Tuesday, America got to watch as proud members of the new Obama Nation lined up at a town hall microphone to ask not what they could do for our country, but what our new president was going to do for them.

One woman wanted President Barack Obama to do something about the waiting list for public housing in Florida. Unfortunately we don’t know of any illegal immigrant members of the Obama family living in public housing outside New England. So the president could only share her pain.

Another Obama supporter wanted to know what the president’s stimulus plan was going to do for those who don’t like their jobs at McDonald’s. Again the bad news: The guy wanted a job as a disc jockey - a career track with the same trajectory as buggy whip maker, VCR repairman or Beacon Hill ethics investigator. No future there.

Still another young man was upset that when he lost his $3,000-a-month job, he got a mere $1,100 a month in unemployment. That can’t be right, he insisted. Shouldn’t the government make up the difference?

“How - if you go from making $3,000 a year, a month, to $1,100 a month - how are you able to take care of your families,” he asked the president. “Why can’t we have that to be automatic?”

Yeah, why not get as much money for staying home as you do for going to work? And why do I have to pay this stupid mortgage every month, too? Why can’t I use that money to buy a PlayStation 3?

Speaking of which, do you know where I can get a Wii Fit? All my friends have one, but not me! What I really want is a membership at the health club where all the hot . . . er, “health conscious women” hang out. How about a federal health club benefit? Or at least a free Ab Master?

C’mon, Mr. President, it’s time for “A six-pack for every pot!”
On and on it went, as Obama supporters formed a political soup line.

It’s not that I lack sympathy for struggling American families. How can you not feel for a woman like Henrietta Hughes, who told Obama she was living in a truck and just wanted “a kitchen and a bathroom”?

But people who worked and saved for their homes also have to ask “why?”
Why can’t she do what so many of us have done when bad times have come before - find a way to get by?

Like most middle-class Americans, I’ve been broke. I’ve lived for a time with just the cash in my pocket and the clothes that fit in the back of my crappy, second-hand car. Plenty of us have.

But at no point did it ever occur to me to drive to a political rally and demand that some pol pay my bills, give me a house or find me a job.

Should the government help people in need? Sure. But when did a government handout become the first place to turn? Instead of “Times are tough, what am I gonna do about it?” these folks said “I’m not happy! What are you gonna do about it?”

Then again, why am I surprised? They’re only repeating what they’ve heard from Obama, that “only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy.” Yeah, only the government can solve our problems, raise our kids, fix our souls.

Me? I’d be happy with an administration that could explain its bailout plan without tanking the stock market.

If you have difficulty playing the videos, this is a link to the first one, and here is a link to the second one.


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