Many people listening to Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address commented afterward that they “…were especially taken with President Obama’s call for “a new era of responsibility. This is a useful message for Americans of all walks of life to hear — from Wall Street CEOs to unmarried fathers to AARP lobbyists in Washington. The prosperity of recent decades has produced a culture of entitlement and sometimes even of complacency” (CBS News A ‘Responsibility’ Era A pragmatic call to Americans to lift our national game 2-11-08). Just three, short weeks later and I find myself extremely confused…I thought after this historic election we were ushering in a new “Era of responsibility.”
Growing up I was taught that being a responsible meant that I had to be accountable, trustworthy and to be able to always answer for my own actions and obligations. A big part of being responsible included knowing the difference between right and wrong and acting accordingly. So as I matured I learned to always follow through on my obligations and a large part of my commitment included always paying my debts, providing for myself and my family, displaying honesty and fighting vehemently for right and standing strong against wrong. I was taught there were consequences for my actions and that knowledge served as a formidable deterrent and incentive.
On January 20th 2009, the “Era of Responsibility” President sent a strong message, but immediately following his powerful exhortation all his actions have consistently promoted and encouraged quite the opposite. In fact, I would say that if things continue as they have in the last few weeks we have to rename the era and give it a new moniker of “The Epoch of Irresponsibility”.
Since Barry stepped proudly into the Oval Office last month all of his Cabinet Appointments, Executive Orders as well as the “stimulus” bill he is busily hawking have done nothing but underscore the belief that it’s just fine to be irresponsible. In fact, if you are, it might serve you well be you Cabinet appointee, enemy combatant, sluggard or ungrateful citizen.
President Obama’s Cabinet Appointees obviously are among those who supported “Change”. As expected all of them turn out to be like minded cohorts who rooted and applauded when Obama gave his inspirational “Era of Responsibility” speech. How come these same supporters are also turning out to be a group of Presidential appointees who don’t understand that culpability includes owning up to personal obligations, reliability and meeting the demands of commitments in distinct areas of all our lives? How could those being recruited to oversee the fulfillment of our “responsibility” as citizens of a free nation, view themselves as being exempt from what they enthusiastically espouse and legislate for everybody else?
Timothy Geitner the newly appointed Treasury secretary, who will be responsible for overseeing the IRS, was blatantly irresponsible when it came to paying his own dues. He failed to pay $34,000.00 in taxes for both Social Security and Medicare while he was a senior official at the International Monetary Fund. When an opportunity presented itself for the “Responsibility” President to teach the nation that character is far more valuable than experience, he came down on the side of competency and skill disregarding irresponsibility confirming Geitner to the position.
Senator Tom Daschle was on the precipice of being named to the Cabinet position of Secretary of Health and Human Services when he suddenly awakened to the fact that he somehow failed to pay levies on “…more than $300,000 worth of income he gained through consulting work, including the use of car and driver” (CBS News, White House Says Daschle’s Tax Failure Was a Serious Mistake, Karen Tavers, Jon Karl and Jake Tapper, Feb 2, 2009). When given the opportunity to come down on the side of “responsibility” the “Era of Responsibility” President decided to “absolutely” support Daschle’s nomination. Daschle had the wherewithal to step down, but at no time did Obama point out to the American people Daschle’s lack of “responsible” behavior, or even his deficiency for overlooking Daschle’s mistake, which I believe was the real “screw up”. I can’t help but wonder if rising through the ranks of the Chicago corrupt political machine and carousing with the likes of Tony Resko, Rashid Khalidi, William Ayers and Reverend Wright would make Obama view tax evasion as benign or maybe even consider it a distorted type of character strength?
After declining the nomination, the irresponsible Tom Daschle had his health care suggestions from his scary, socialistic 2008 book “Critical: What We Can Do about the Health-Care Crisis” stealthily woven into the “stimulus” bill. Daschle’s proposals, which if adopted will impact all of our lives in such a way that seniors will face health care rationing and the youth will benefit on the sacrifice of the lives of our elderly population. The champions of Social Security are ready to sell our seniors down the river to make sure the “useful eaters” get the lion share of the health care subsidies. Daschle’s diabolical ideas will affect every part of health care system, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and hospitals are paid (90-92, 174, 181). All this from someone who “did not realize” that the perks he received were income and failed to report them. If Daschle’s “irresponsible” conduct and daunting plans for Granny doesn’t exempt him from having any input into something so monumental, what does?
Next up we have Nancy Killifer who worked in the Treasury Department and was tapped to be the federal government’s chief performance officer as well as Hilda Solis’ to head the labor Department. both these women had tax issues in their personal life. From Killifer’s failure to pay unemployment taxes on hired help in her home, to Solis’ conflict of interest in working with Unions and her husband’s 16-year old tax lien. Killifer bowed out and Solis’ confirmation is still on hold. Again, irresponsible behavior rewarded with offers of high ranking, responsible positions by the “Era of Responsibility” President and no public rebuke as a character lesson to a nation in dire need of one. The message here is that political cronies expect a reprieve for responsibilities the rest of us are under legal mandate to perform.
The “Era of Responsibility” President felt it was his duty to exhibit his support for responsible behavior by overturning President Bush’s Executive Order to disallow federal funding for overseas abortions. By reversing the Mexico City policy, and in an effort to uphold the attitude of fidelity in others, President Obama decided to provide funding for women who would rather evade their responsibility and abort their unborn children. This Executive Order reversal made sure that all those who display the highest form of irresponsibility can receive money from us, even if we’re pro-life. The “Responsibility” President assisted in the disposal of what he espoused to be a “punishment”, one of which he wants his daughters Malia and Sasha to be spared of, in the most brutal and despicable way.
Moving on from there, the “Responsibility” President closed a prison that housed enemy combatants in an effort to teach those who want to destroy our nation, kill our school children and cut off our heads on Youtube that their murderous intentions and actions toward our nation deserve the reward of American civil liberties. To underscore his commitment to trustworthiness the “Responsibility” President’s first phone call to any head of state was to the leader of a terrorist group, Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Liberation Organization . Lest we need to be reminded Hamas is responsible for the deaths of multitudes of Israelis and many of their own innocent people in the Gaza Strip. I’m sure the “responsible” message conveyed to radical Islamic terrorists as well as the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Fatah party is that they now have a friend in Washington DC.
Immediately following that historic phone call and in a good faith effort to cast himself worldwide as the fortress of “responsibility” our President had the military trials of Guantanamo Bay enemy combatant prisoner’s halted and withdrew all charges against the USS Cole and September 11th murdering masterminds. He ordered all CIA interrogation centers overseas shut down. I guess this was his way of driving home to the international community that accountability for our actions is our top priority and that knowing the difference between right and wrong and acting accordingly is a standard we, as Americans, hold very high.
Today the “Era of Responsibility” President is on a dog and pony show pushing a “Stimulus” bill that bails out irresponsible behavior by taking tax dollars from reliable people and burdening generations yet to come, who are being taught responsibility from their own overtaxed but conscientious parents. His plan to hold forth the placard of “responsibility” for all to see, is accomplished by extorting earnings from hard working, dependable Americans and “redistributing” them to irresponsible individuals, many of whom have made a lifetime habit of living off the dole.
The “Era of Responsibility” President also intends on bailing out people who acted negligently and bought houses they knew they couldn’t afford, neither holding them liable nor asking them to compensate for their reckless obligations and immature actions. This includes the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which planned on purchasing assets and equity from failed banks in an effort to strengthen an irresponsible financial sector in hopes of bolstering up the housing market, all in the name of “responsibility”!
Let’s not forget about ACORN. Here is a, “…low-income advocacy group under investigation for voter registration fraud [who] could be eligible for billions in aid from the economic stimulus proposal working its way through the House…this stimulus bill winding its way through Congress [could] provide $4.19 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities” (Fox News.com, Republicans Object to Stimulus Dollars for ACORN, January 27, 2009)? The sensible thing for the “Era of Responsibility” President to do would be to announce that any organization under criminal investigation should be exempt from receiving stimulus monies. The willy-nilly handing out of hard earned American tax dollars to those who foster voter fraud can hardly be viewed as demanding accountability and questionable behavior answer for their antics from the “Responsibility” President.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the message of “responsibility” that is being conveyed to our citizens when we realize that, “ The $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure making its way through Congress could steer government checks to illegal immigrants…the legislation, which would send tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple…would allow people who don’t have Social Security numbers to be eligible for the checks…undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill and one making its way through the Senate would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number, to qualify for the tax credits” (Associated Press, Hill Republican: Stimulus aids illegal immigrants, 1-29-09). The word “illegal” is defined as, prohibited by law and prohibited by official laws – so what could be a better lesson in “responsibility” than handing out dollars earned by an honest, law abiding populace to people who are breaking the laws and over running this nation. To drive the point home, the “Responsibility” President should oversee the distribution of the checks at a prime-time ceremony on national TV, complete with Greek columns and replete with the cheers of adoring crowds goading him on.
In response to the Great Communicator making “responsibility” such a priority during the first three weeks of his historic Presidency, the effect of his efforts were on full display yesterday at a town hall meeting in Fort Meyers. Two participants at the event embodied the fullness of accountable, individualism and just screamed private conscientiousness. Responsibility entails personal accountability and the ability to act without guidance or superior authority. A responsible person is someone who is the source or the cause! It was apparent that Obama’s responsibility message had really accomplished its’ goal when town hall attendee Henrietta Hughes presented the “Responsibility” President with her “urgent” need to provide her with a job, home, car, a bump up on the housing authority waiting list – followed up by a kitchen and a bathroom. Santa Claus promptly reached inside his bag of goodies and soothed Henrietta telling to speak to his staff.
Not to be over looked Obama’s laundry list of entitlements was added to by Julio Osegueda, a Florida College student, who was so excited about being chosen by the President that he screamed out, “Oh, gracious God, thank you so much”, which left me to wonder who exactly he was referring to, the Almighty or Obama? But I digress–Osequeda’s breathless question was to implore the “Responsibility” President to use his influence to coerce McDonald’s into providing him with better employee benefits. Obviously, to more patriotic Americans such as me, Julio comes across a tad ungrateful, especially in a time of such “catastrophic crisis”. For him to have a job at all, especially from a company that “…during a year when the stock market lost a third of its value …shares of McDonald’s gained nearly 6 percent, making the company one of only two in the Dow Jones industrial average whose share price rose in 2008.” (NYT, At McDonald’s, the Happiest Meal Is Hot Profits, Andrew Martin, Feb 10-09) puts him among, according to Obama, the insignificant percentage of Americans with both health care and a paycheck. I really think he should to be more inclined toward “fairness” and patriotism. Julio should kick in, sacrifice and above all not ask for more!
So as a truly responsible person I think it’s my duty to point out to anyone who recognizes that words mean very little and actions tell the whole story that the only one who is actually acting “responsible” in this scenario is the “Responsibility” President himself. He is personally answerable for the parade of slacker attitudes and idler initiatives we’ve seen on display. His soaring, stirring rhetoric, promises and indolent inspiring ideologies are the source and cause of a pervading entitlement attitude that we see overtaking our nation. Obama’s lack of action and reaction has sent the message that there are zero consequences for wrong or negligent deeds, and in fact, there may very well be rewards. The “Responsibility” President has fostered a “what’s in it for me” mentality that those who should be accepting the responsibility for their own lives, destiny and future ought to instead look toward government to shoulder their burdens.
To call this the “Era of Responsibility” and then to spend the first three weeks of a Presidential tenure supporting, encouraging, financing irresponsible people and actions and promising to subsidize circumstances, which foster further irresponsibility makes you the only “responsible” person practicing what you preach Mr. President in this your “Era of Responsibility”.
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