Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Lesson from My Father

When I was a child, we were a struggling family. While moving to Indianapolis in the early 1950s, we stopped at a roadside market and my father bought the first bottle of Dr. Pepper that I had ever seen. It was a big shiny glass bottle holding a strange looking black liquid. There were 4 of us, me, my two brothers and my sister. As he handed it to me, he told us to share the bottle. My first sip of Dr. Pepper woke me up to the wonders that could be found in a market.

Since that time 58 years ago, Dr. Pepper has been my favorite drink and for many years while growing up I yearned to buy my own bottle that I would not have to share. It happened when I got my first paper route. With that first money I had earned I bought myself a cheap bronze very first possession(that I still have)...and a bottle of Dr. Pepper. It was exquisite.

Since then, I've drank thousands of bottles/cans of Dr. Pepper and I must admit, that strange taste does not amaze me today as it did with that first bottle. With time, familiarity, age and perhaps a different formula, Dr. Pepper does not give me the amazing experience I felt with that first sip. That was a moment of catharsis for me, an epiphany that brought an explosion of taste to my 4-year old brain, an awakening, almost a religious experience. It was a wonderful day that I'll never forget.

Yesterday, President Obama was shopping in a store with his daughters. He asked them if they wanted anything and one of his children asked for a pack of chewing gum. He asked the other daughter if she wanted anything and she said she wanted a pack also. He bought one pack and told them they had to share. What was the point of two daughters of a wealthy man having to share a simple pack of chewing gum? To teach them to share with each other; to teach them that as individuals they were unimportant; but as sisters they were part of something bigger.

Was my father trying to teach us to be kind to each other when he insisted that we share the bottle of Dr. Pepper? No, he could not afford to buy us each a bottle of our own. It was not a lesson in sharing, it was not a guideline to follow for the rest of our lives...he simply could not afford it. I took no lesson from it and I don't fault my father. In fact, it was very loving of him to buy us this wonderful, delicious liquid that we HAD to share.

Obama's lesson is a different lesson from that taught by my father. My father wanted to simply quench our thirst with a delicious drink...and in the process he taught us that there are more pleasures in life than mere water. Inadvertently, he taught us about enjoying our sense experiences. Obama, on the other hand, forces his daughters to share in order to ensure that they cannot each enjoy a full pack of gum. They have been forced to comply with a moral idea of sharing when there is absolutely no reason that they should have to share. He is punishing them for being wealthy.

The real lesson in these two examples(I think)is that people don't share out of kindness; they share out of need; but being needy is not a condition to which we should aspire, nor is sharing a moral imperative. Sometimes there is simply no reason to share and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it is fully moral to let a child enjoy a full pack of gum or drink their own bottle of Dr. Pepper. If you have the means to buy a full pack of gum then you should proudly buy a full pack of gum.

To a great extent, however, Obama is acting his own version of 'the father' for the whole nation. He is telling us all to share; pretending to be the moral authority who will force us to live as equals in his version of a Marxist community where all will sacrifice to all and each will share equally in the poverty that will result. He is the community organizer of the largest community project every enacted in the history of our country. And he fully intends to make sure that, one way or another, we are all enlisted in his version of community service; a community without individuals, a community where each person is evaluated according to how hard he works for others, a community where everyone is leveled to the condition of poverty.

In spite of this, I still don't agree that he should start with his own daughters. It is a bad lesson for everybody.

If we are to save our society; if we are to defeat the advance of the brutal dictatorship that looms closer; if we are to ensure the survival of our way of life, of our freedoms, of our Constitution and of our right to make it on our own, we must challenge at every step the idea that it is a moral imperative that we 'share' our production. We must expose this false ideal as nothing more than what it is: a conman's effort to steal everything we have created. The productive citizen must fight for his right to be productive and to be free of governmental intrusions - no matter how nicely such intrusions are propagated and no matter how softly they are advanced. Obama is not our father and we are not his children. He may talk about trying to help people but I suggest that, if this is his goal, he do it out of the royalties from his books...not from our hard earned work, not with our properties that do not belong to him. The idea that we must share our productive results is the very idea that will bring the jackboots, the rifle butts and the bullets to our doorsteps. It is time to take a stand against the impractical and futile effort to turn us into our brother's keepers. We must insist on the sovereignty of the a matter of right.

By the way, I think I had the better father. Thanks, Dad.

No comments:

Post a Comment