I have the utmost respect for Cynthia Jardon, the editor of the editorial page of The Town Talk, but her most recent Sunday editorial regarding Senator Barack Obama misses the mark so severely that I am compelled to respond. Ms. Jardon begins her editorial:
Does Barack Obama really want you to have a piece of the American dream? Have you noticed that he doesn’t much reference Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?
No, Ms. Jardon. I have not noticed that. In fact, when Senator Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, it was on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a fact that was repeated over and over. Two of Dr. King’s children both delivered powerful speeches that day.
Indeed, Senator Obama spent the final moments of his historic acceptance speech paying tribute to Dr. King. To suggest Senator Obama hasn’t referenced Dr. King much is, with all due respect, to admit that you’re simply not paying much attention, and it appears as if this claim is only being made in order to propound a very tenuous argument about Senator Obama’s intentions and prerogatives.
Dr. King never once suggested that African Americans were unable or unwilling to reach for the brass ring. He never hinted that perhaps African Americans would be better off if they just sat back and took government handouts.
Obama wants us less-than-average Joes to believe we are entitled to money we haven’t earned. That’s about as un-American as you can get.
This is simply irresponsible: An attempt to distort the legacy of Dr. King in order to advance the false assertion that Obama is “un-American” and believes “we are entitled to money we haven’t earned.”
Furthermore, it suggests that Obama’s tax plan, which would simply reinstate the structures under Reagan and Clinton, is somehow exclusively intended to address some type of African-American entitlement agenda, comparing his plan to sweeping “government handouts.”
Why are we entitled to wealth others have earned? Does Obama believe we aren’t ambitious enough, smart enough, strong enough or in any other way capable of taking care of ourselves? If he can grab his piece of the American dream, why can’t we?
Because he would like us to give up. He would like to convince us that the American dream is dead.
Frankly, I have no idea what Ms. Jardon is talking about. As someone who has religiously followed this election, I can’t understand how any journalist could possibly believe that Senator Obama thinks the “American dream is dead.” Honestly, I find such language to be absurdly and rancorously partisan.
Ms. Jardon hopes Americans will believe that Senator Obama is “as un-American as you get” and that he also thinks the “American dream is dead.”
I guess it is, if the American spirit is so weak that it cannot see that his “change” will only bring us to new lows. We are to aspire to mediocrity because, in his world, without government handouts, we will not survive.
Until this morning, I have never heard of anyone speak of Obama’s tax plan as a “hand-out” plan, and I find it to be an astoundingly ignorant interpretation.
What is it about America that has changed so much that you cannot reach for the stars?
The opportunities still abound for a person, no matter what his origins, no matter what his family or socio-economic class, to get his or her piece of the dream. All it takes is ambition, education, dedication, a willingness to work and commitment.
In fact, ironically, Barack Obama is the perfect example of a man who is living the American dream.
How, exactly, is this ironic?
Yet he believes you can’t do it without him. He wants us all to believe that this country’s rich are tyrants. Obama wants you to believe that the rich, because they are rich, deserve to be punished.
Why? They got rich the same way anyone else can — dedication, hard work, education, ambition, etc.
In Obama’s economic plan, he’d like you to believe that 95 percent of the people will get a tax cut. That’s not accurate. 95 percent of the people may not pay more taxes, but there is no actual “cut” figured in. In fact, he makes no bones about the fact that he will raise taxes.
If you make $250,000 a year you will pay higher taxes. He and Sen. Joe Biden would like you to believe that there are not a lot of people who make that kind of money.
Ms. Jardon, practically all of what you’re saying about Senator Obama’s tax plan is a lie. Again, with all due respect, you have fundamentally misrepresented his tax plan and the intentions behind his plan. First of all, despite what you claim, there IS, in fact, an actual and substantial cut “figured in” for people making less than $250,000. From the Boston Globe:
As this clearly illustrates, Obama’s tax plan offers significant tax breaks for people making under $603,403 a year, particularly for people making less than $111,645 a year. This is public and readily-available information, and it’s absurd and irresponsible for anyone to build a counter-argument without addressing the facts.
This isn’t about “punishing” anyone. A progressive tax structure simply responds, fairly and equitably, to the needs of our country. Town Talk reporters beware: You’re getting a tax break.
The irony isn’t Senator Obama’s perspective; the irony is that so many Americans have allowed themselves to believe it’s in their own economic best interests to vote against their own economic best interests.
In Obama’s world it is the patriotic duty of those who work and succeed to pay for those who do not. What? What has paying an inordinate amount of taxes so more people can go on the dole got to do with patriotism?
Who do you think will suffer in the long run? Those who pay more will find a way to even the playing field. They will raise prices, cut jobs, cut benefits or whatever. That’s how it works.
How will Obama’s wealth spreading help you? All of the extra money you get will be absorbed by the higher food and product prices. Lots of pain, no gain.
But Obama does not want you to see that. He wants you to believe that you are sticking it to “the man.” Who is that?
“Sticking it to the man”? What?
And what does Ms. Jardon mean by “inordinate”? I wonder what she thinks about Warren Buffett’s objection that his tax bracket is actually lower than his secretary’s. It’s as if she is arguing for an economic system that has already demonstratably been proven as a failure.
“Voodoo economics,” as George H.W. Bush called it.
But for Ms. Jardon, unfortunately, it all comes back to Senator Obama’s race, a device she uses to thematically tie the article together:
Dr. King had a dream — it was that everyone would one day be able to capture their piece of the American dream. The dream is alive for Ice T, Ice Cube, Usher, Beyonce, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Spike Lee, Oprah, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson, Clarence Thomas, Lil Wayne, Barry Bonds and the list goes on and on. All these people are living their piece of the American dream and all will be penalized for success. Many already donate millions of dollars a year to charities. Under Obama, you can bet they will donate less. Instead of those people deciding who gets their money, the government will decide.
In attempting to make her point, she lists sixteen African-Americans as examples of people who would ostensibly be “penalized” by Senator Obama. Ironically, the vast majority of the men and women she lists, including General Powell, are supporters of Senator Obama.
Although, out of respect, I refuse to express the obvious, I believe, with all of my heart, that Americans will not be so easily convinced that this election is about entitlement, in any of its forms.
When expressed honestly, this is about one thing: Our shared future.
Update: Thank you to Russell Henderson for sharing this with Louisiana Democrats, and thank you to Ryan McLeod for your own response, which includes video of Senator Obama speaking about Dr. King during his acceptance speech at the DNC. Quoting the transcript:
Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.
“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.