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Playing the Rich Card

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

When in trouble, some politicians play the race card. They carve out special cookie cutter spots for different races or genders. Time and time again, the race card has been played. Jesse Jackson is a master of it. Obama plays the race card in subtle way.

But, one of the things I think America did in 2008 was absolve themselves of the race card. For many, the election of Obama was a cleansing. They thought, “Now, we have a black President. The slaves that we freed in the Civil War have attained the most powerful office in the world.”. It was as if they went to confessional, said some Hail Mary’s, and were on the straight and narrow.

That puts a conundrum into the strategies of the people that play the race card over and over again to their advantage. If they can’t play it, they need to win on the facts. Most of the time when they play it, they know the facts aren’t on their side-it’s the reason for the strategy in the first place.

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They have figured out a new strategy. The Rich Card. Listen to political speeches these days. It’s about “the rich paying their fair share”. People that make over $250,000 per year should pay. It goes deeper than that. Many are politicizing all types of success. If you have a good degree from a top institution, they demean it. If you grew up with money, there is no possible way that you could understand anything a poor person understands no matter what your experience is. If you aren’t a certain skin color, you can’t possibly understand how a person of a different skin color feels. They take the Bible verse, “Money is the root of evil” and spin it for political gain.

I don’t know what the crime is in being rich. I grew up middle class in the suburbs of Chicago. I always went to richer suburbs and wished I could one day make enough money to live there. Being successful wasn’t a criminal act. I never worried about if a business “gave back”, or how much money the owner donated. It was their business and if I was lucky enough to get a job with them, that was enough for me.

We saw a lot of it at both conventions. Brit Hume of Fox News called all of the speeches the “Destitution Derby”. Everyone was crying poor. Everyone. They all walked to school uphill both ways in ten below weather.

Today, I would rather hold up people that were like Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, Tom Monaghan, the Koch Brothers, Fred Wilson, Mark Zuckerberg, and yes, Mitt Romney to kids as an example of what you can do if you are creative and good at what you do. They are all rich, but they earned it. They took risk and did things the right way. They became wildly successful.

In America, we ought to be talking a lot about how people became successful. We ought to be telling people that they can overcome all obstacles if they think creatively and make it happen. We ought to be telling people there is no limit on how high they can go.

Instead, people are using envy to play the rich card. It’s time to get them to fold.

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