editor’s note: The following is a more fully fleshed out take on the theme of the “Opapa” PodKast posted above.
Dear Mr. President,
You’ve crossed a subtle but dangerous line. You may not be aware that you’ve done so, even though much of the vitriol you’ve been receiving and referring to lately is probably rooted in it, and many of your pissed off constituents may well not realize that’s what’s driving them.
What exactly is the line that you’ve crossed? It’s not unlike the one that you, me, and most of your supporters despise whenever the government tries to legislate intimate, personal behavior. You, me, and most of your supporters don’t want the government in our bedrooms, and we kick and scream when sexual behavior or “morning after” contraceptive pills are the subject of possible federal mandates. Isn’t that right, Mr. President? You know it is.
Well, we also have our limits when it comes to the government in our wallets, or our pocketbooks, especially when it’s to reallocate wealth from, not even rich, but middle class folks who were prudent and didn’t spend beyond their means, in order to bail out others who did. Most of us could handle the progressive income tax as it stood, where those with more lent a hand to those with less.
It’s the American way. But you’ve gone too far. I was raised in a way that instilled an innate drive to give to those less fortunate than myself. I give such a large percentage of my income to charities, charities that I pick, that my accountant tells me it may raise a red flag with the IRS folks. I call it secular tithing, and I call it a good thing. You should try it. I understand you donate a far smaller percentage of your income to charity than I do, even though your income is far greater than mine.
You display a largess with other people’s money for causes you believe in, a largess that you don’t display with your own cash. And you wonder why your supporters are turning against you?
I don’t need, and I don’t want you, to tell me who I should be helping. I don’t want you telling me what to eat; I already grew up with massively imperfect but well meaning adults, called parents, telling me what to eat. I already had a father come down hard on me if I didn’t study my ass off so that I wouldn’t be a burden to others.
Now I’m not impervious to the fact that many kids in this country don’t have the benefit of two active parents in their lives. And you and your wife are right in stating that we need to turn off the TV’s and videogames that numb our kid’s minds and get them reading and running.
But your desire to legislate these behaviors offends me to my core; it makes me feel, for lack of a better word, violated.
If you want to improve early education and create an orientation that will lead the next generation of Americans to be world leaders in technology, in political science and military strategy that keeps us safe at home, and education that nurtures the creative writers and thinkers of tomorrow who will reach and touch billions of hearts and minds with what is unique and good about the American soul, here’s what you ought to do:
Take some of the billions of dollars you’ve authorized to maintain troops in Iraq, to prop up a bunch of drug dealing thugs in Afghanistan, and to maintain military bases in countries that spit in our faces on a regular basis, and bring those dollars, and those soldiers in harm’s way, home, and use them on early education.
And take some of the billions you and your Bush alumni (can you say Geithner?) used to prop up their friendly, campaign contributing, mega-banks and use those dollars to teach,and I said teach, not indoctrinate, our youth and our underprivileged about money and how to handle it, so that they pay for textbooks and tutors before they buy flat screen TV’s and PS3′s.
But do not try to re-raise me; I’ve already been raised thank you, and, notwithstanding the inevitable bumps in the road, I was raised pretty right. And so were a lot of other Americans who are not taking kindly to your intrusion into their ways and standards of living.
We need a commander in chief, not a father in chief. I already had one of those. He’s gone now, and I don’t remember asking for a replacement.
And one last thought that may be of help to you. It’s only a matter of time before someone with a far larger reach and who’s far less even-handed than I am grabs hold of this theme, and points out that your upbringing (like that of the smarmy frat boy Bush, which they won’t bring up) influences the substance and the style of your governing. And whoever that partisan messenger turns out to be most assuredly won’t be as well meaning, or as civil as I am.