By Tim Nerenz
Speaking at a fundraiser this week, President Obama tried to frighten Americans with the grim warning that if he is not re-elected in 2012, “you will be on your own.” Promises, promises.
Fear not, wards of the State; on January 21 of 2013, the only part of government that we will be rid of is the current occupant of the White House. There will be another President, and he or she will preside over the same unmanageable leviathan that Mr. Obama would like us to believe will simply vanish into thin air if he is not re-employed to run it for four additional years. If only it were that easy.
There is no question that this is now a nation divided, and the President’s dire warning brings the line of separation into clear focus. To the dependent class, the idea of being left “on your own” is terrifying. To the producing class, it is liberating. Pick your side.
What is wrong with being on our own? That was our #1 priority growing up. As teenagers we could not wait to graduate from high school, to get our own car, to get the heck out of our boring little mining town, to get out from under our parent’s stupid rules, and to go out and find our place in the world.
Some of us went into the service, some of us went to college, some of us went to work in the big cities, some of us went to California or Arizona or Las Vegas or Alaska, and some of us stayed home. We discovered that the world had not reserved a place for us to “find”; we discovered how to make our own way in the world. And we did – on our own.
We became doctors, lawyers, architects, executives, professional golfers, radio personalities, business owners, teachers, firemen, pastors, airline flight attendants, career military, casino dealers, accountants, public administrators, nurses, salespeople, artists, welders, loggers, firefighters, mechanics, beauticians, tavern owners, and every other profession and trade imaginable. We wanted to make our friends and family proud of us and we did – on our own.
We became parents, spouses, volunteers, advocates, investors, philanthropists, community leaders, chaperones, mentors, coaches, bloggers, advisors, board members, deacons, council members, scoutmasters, carolers, big brothers and sisters, fundraisers. We wanted to make a difference and we did – on our own.
We did not do all those things because government made us; we would not stop if there was no government to give us its permission. And “on our own” does not mean alone – we were taught by our mentors, encouraged by our friends, supported by our families, strengthened by our congregations, inspired by great leaders, challenged by our adversaries, and developed by our bosses, paid by our customers, made great by our competitors.
If President Obama is not re-elected, we will not be alone; we will still have our mentors, friends, families, congregations, leaders, adversaries, bosses, customers, and competitors. But according to him, we will be on our own; and thank God if he is right. Because that’s what freedom is – being on your own.
The President encourages his constituency to think like children – afraid to be on their own, jealous of the other kids’ toys, coveting the bigger allowances of the neighbor kids, angry at their own parents for not giving more, frustrated that life is unfair. They hate the rich for being rich, the pretty for being pretty, the happy for being happy, and the winners for winning. They demand a world of stickers and hugs and do-overs; they don’t like bedtime and they don’t like to get up and they don’t mind pitching a fit in public so we can all be unhappy with them.
And Mr. Obama has also burdened his opponents with the unwanted responsibility to be the parents of his beloved dependent class. We resent having to care for our shiftless and surly teenagers; we tire of their sass, their ingratitude, their eye-rolling certainty that we are stupid and uncool. We have tired of paying their way, fixing the car they crash over and over, apologizing for their rude behavior in public.
All of us have been teenagers, and many of us have now raised teenagers, so we can see a bit of ourselves in both caricatures. And we know what it took to put the rancor and resentments that builds between parents and children behind us and to start again to treat each other with respect. What it took was for the teenager to move out and live on their own. That is when we got along.
When our son went out on his own, it was my proudest day as a parent. We knew he would struggle, as we did; we knew he would make bad choices and suffer painful consequences, as we did; we knew that he would become responsible when he had to; as we did. And we trusted him that he would succeed on his own terms, taking care of himself and his family and helping others in their hour of need. The rebellious youth became a man – on his own. Same as it ever was.
Need is not an acceptable lifestyle choice; dependent is not a career. If we cannot live on our own, who are we supposed to live “on”? Who is it that owes us our existence at their expense? Why is it our neighbor’s obligation to fend for us when we will not fend for ourselves? Who will keep us when all of our brothers are kept?
The President has done us the great service of presenting his vision for American with rare and remarkable clarity – a nation of stunted-development dependents incapable of living on their own. And he has revealed to us the full measure of his ego – the entire nation of wards could not possibly survive without him as our President.
Mr. Obama, you can spend the rest of your life dependent on the government and its pension – being President is a tough job and you have earned it. But the rest of us would be thrilled to live on our own, to make this the land of the free again. Thank you for telling us what we need to do to bring that dream to reality.
- On Your Own – Tea Party Nation (gds44.wordpress.com)
- President Obama and Justice Ginsburg on America’s “Rather Old Constitution” (lettingfreedomring.com)
- An Open Letter to President Obama via Christianity.com Daily Update (wdednh.wordpress.com)
- Never let it be said that Obama takes governing seriously (whoopsies.wordpress.com)
- Are Government Agencies Using Intimidation to Silence Opposition to Obama? (twighlightslastgleaming.wordpress.com)