Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Leading Through Derision?

“Last week, the other party, they gave their pitch. … What they offered … was an agenda that was probably a little better suited for the last century, … you might as well have watched it on black-and-white TV, put some rabbit-ears on the convention hall.”
President Barack Obama, Addressing an Iowa campaign audience,
regarding the 2012 Republican National Convention

How disappointing is this? Our nation is facing countless overwhelming challenges. Our people are deeply and pretty much equally, divided over the best approach to meeting these challenges. Instead of getting the leadership we look to our President for, to draw our efforts together, we continue to get derisive comments like this … comments that are more likely to come from a Community Organizer, to incite agitation.

Presently, the nearly-equal political halves of the U.S. population are most easily illustrated through the opposing views of the DNC and the RNC, on solving our nation’s current problems. These include our lagging Economy, our incredible Debt, the stance on Abortion, Energy policies, Environmental policies and National Security. To illustrate my point about the counterproductive nature of President Obama’s derisive leadership style, I want to take a look at how that applies to just one of these topics. Hopefully, if I can get you to understand my views on this issue, you’ll see how it applies to the many others.

Tax Relief has been a consistently contentious issue that I think serves well to share my perspective. A very condensed version of the GOP's Platform on this is:

We reject the use of taxation to redistribute income. Our goal is a tax system that is simple, transparent, flatter, and fair. A reformed code should promote simplicity and coherence, savings and innovation, increase American competitiveness, and recognize the burdens on families with children. To that end, we propose to extend the Bush tax cuts-pending reform of the tax code, to keep tax rates from rising.

Of course, the unabridged version of this has many other facets, with several of them being understandably arguable. With that understood, it still seems to me that, in order to draw together the opposing halves on this issue, our nation needs a leader willing to say something like, "Though I don't agree with your stand on this, I can see where you're coming from and I want us to sit down together, to find a solution that works for us all." However, what we continue to get is our President leading the endless drumbeat, stating that all Republicans care about is further enriching "Millionaires and Billionaires." I find this derision to be personally offensive. I'm not a Millionaire or Billionaire. But, thanks to getting the sort of opportunities mentioned in the GOP Platform, I have been able to earn a lifestyle that is well beyond the dreams of a kid (me) who started out as the youngest of three kids, raised by a single-Mom in a time (the Fifties) when that title wasn't even in use yet. Thus, I pretty much resent the implication that I and others like me, are so intellectually and morally inferior that we get up every morning thinking, "What can I do today, to benefit America's Millionaires and Billionaires."

Additionally, I have to say that I find these specific derisive comments from the President to be particularly aggravating as a result of his using "the last century" and "black-and-white TV" as negative connotations. I was born in the middle of the last century and there were some pretty great values that I was given then, foundational values for my life, that I'm deeply disappointed to say have not survived well into this century. For me, a great example can be seen when I tell people, "I'm confident that on the first Sunday after I was brought home from being born at St. Anthony Hospital, my Mom and my Grandma Ray took me to the Second Avenue EUB Church, along with my Brother and Sister. On my first Sunday, I was shown the value of Faith, Family and Community. They remain my life's priorities. Sadly, in this century, fewer and fewer children are even exposed to these great values. And, why disparage black-and-white TV? Are Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech or Neil Armstrong's first step on the surface of the moon any less valuable because they were broadcast utilizing the best medium available at the time - i.e. black-and-white TV?

I guess, if the derisive comment I'm addressing was an exception, it wouldn't be so bad. That certainly isn't the case, though. It continues to be central to the demeanor of the Obama-led Democrat Party. Sad example after sad example can be cited at this week's DNC in Charlotte, NC. Case in point, former Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland, stating that, "If Romney were Santa, he would fire the reindeer and outsource the elves."

As I said at the outset; our nation is facing countless overwhelming challenges and our people are deeply divided over the best approach to meeting these challenges. Another man who called Illinois home when he was elected President, Abraham Lincoln, sized up this situation by looking to wisdom expressed by Jesus Christ, when he said,

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Also as pointed out earlier, our nation is crying out for the leadership we look to our President for, to draw our efforts together. It's obvious, from the behavior addressed here, that Barack Obama either doesn't have the wisdom or the interest (or both) to do this. That, however, remains the sort of leadership we need. For this, I recommend Mitt Romney. A guy who was born in the same year I was, who grew up with Faith, Family and Community as his life's priorities, who watched MLK Jr. and Neil Armstrong on black-and-white TV and celebrated their victories, as we all did.