From flaming nicknames such as "Magic Negro," "Dumbo," and "Food Stamp President" to cold epithets like "Captain Teleprompter," "Dr. DoNothing," and "Jimmy Carter 2.0," it never ceases to amaze me on the volume of venomous comments uttered from the mouths of asps toward President Obama. But, I have to admit that I have been a little surprised with some of the recent commentary that has noted that the president is somehow jealous of successful people. Yesterday, Mitt Romney described the president as someone who wants Americans to be ashamed of success. After all, the president hasn't done anything in his life worth mentioning and never had to work hard.
This malevolent discourse from Romney and certain right-wing personalities has largely arisen from the following remarks from President Obama during a recent campaign stop:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn't -- look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen...
It appears to me that President Obama was speaking a humble truth that raises the defensive hairs on the rigid backs of those who arrogantly believe that they have achieved everything in life in accordance with their feeble power and finite intellect. This is actually a hypocritical and antithetical notion from conservatives and my fellow evangelicals who commonly cite the Judeo-Christian background of our nation and who are supposed to be placing all of their trust in the infinite and omnipotent God and not their strength.
President Obama has consistently stated his concern and compassion for those less fortunate and the need for the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes and to help lighten the load of the poor. Now, since he has highlighted Romney's activities with Bain Capital, his refusal to release tax records and his offshore Swiss and Cayman Islands accounts, he is now being labeled as jealous, which is clearly a misnomer and unfounded accusation.
There is a marked difference between envy and jealousy. According to Dr. Gary Collins, "envy is the wanting of something which belongs to another person, while jealousy is the fear that something we possess will be taken away by another person." If Romney and certain right-wingers want to classify the president as envious of those who have more money, then perhaps they could remotely have a point. But, to say that President Obama, who has a triumphant life story, outstanding educational background and an auspicious career, is jealous of business owners, entrepreneurs and other wealthy Americans is hilarious. Before Romney and the like start pointing fingers at potential character flaws of the president, it would be beneficial for them to look in the mirror first.
Who knows, maybe President Obama may soon be likened to King Saul of modern times who will become angry and obsessed with the lowly, present-day David (i.e., Mitt Romney) who has been anointed to take over the golden throne of the United States.
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