But also noteworthy are the metaphors that the President was utilizing. It’s likely that most Americans, regardless of their age, still feel a sense of empathy when they are reminded of the slaves who were “singin’ freedom songs,” or the women who “were out marchin’ for the right to vote.” And perhaps we feel empathetic about workers who were “organizing for the right to organize,” as well – although it seems like President Obama’s word choice was a bit muddled here, and the impact of the “workers” metaphor was a bit deflated.
But beyond drawing applause, and beyond engendering a sense of empathy for previous generations, what was the President attempting to accomplish with this section of the speech? Are we supposed to relate, somehow, to those who were held in a state of slavery, or to the women who were denied their right to vote?
In each of the historic examples that the President noted, there was a clearly defined category of oppressors, and a clearly defined category of victims. But what relevance do these metaphors have for us today, in the era of President Obama? Who, exactly, are the “oppressors” in today’s America, and who among us is a victim? And who – or what – will save us?
Two years ago, John McCain and George W Bush were singled-out by Barack Obama as the oppressors that created plummeting real estate values, insolvent banks, rising healthcare costs and a plummeting stock market. Now, after nearly two years of applying his own “cures” to the healthcare industry and the financial system, and after making himself the de-facto CEO of two car companies and multiple lending institutions, President Obama faces the wrath of adult voters over skyrocketing healthcare costs, double-digit unemployment, banks that won’t lend, and companies that won’t hire.
Adult Americans aren’t content to simply “vote” every couple of years - we want expanded opportunity and a thriving private sector economy. Yet President Obama has created an expanded public sector, and greater government dependence. Americans also want lower healthcare costs and better healthcare options. Yet, President Obama has brought about a rise in healthcare costs, and an environment that will ultimately lead to fewer healthcare options.
What he once called an effort to “spread the wealth around” is now becoming a situation where we are spreading around our misery. This could be “progress,” as Obama defines it – he has certainly been a harsh critic of American capitalism and prosperity – or it could be failure, depending on what his real objectives might be.
Mr. President, “hope” and “change” are killing us, but how’s it workin’ out for you? And what is “progress” anyway?
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.
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