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Posts Tagged ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

President Obama’s Spread the Grade Philosophy

Posted by Adrienne Ross on April 26, 2011

By Adrienne Ross –

Joe the Plumber brought the whole spread the wealth issue to America’s attention in 2008, and nothing has changed. President Obama is still committed to spreading the wealth around and even more committed to class warfare. The more he talks, the clearer it becomes that he definitely has no real interest in cutting spending. Rather, he’s content to cut more out of people’s income, particularly those people he deems filthy rich. It’s obvious, too, that to him “filthy rich” isn’t just an expression. In fact, he’s already told the country that at a certain point people have made enough money.

President Obama learned nothing from the 2010 mid-term elections. Nothing’s changed in his overall philosophy which cannot be disguised, even after the shellacking he received. It is what it is, obviously, because he is who he is. He says he’s not interested in punishing success, but his actions speak differently–and so do his words. In a town hall speech last week, he spoke of those rich people who cannot be allowed to just relax and “count [their] money.” First of all, does he not realize that people have the right to do whatever they want with their money? If they want to get naked and roll around in it, is that not their decision to make? Is it really government’s business what a person does with the money that is rightfully his or hers to enjoy? Has President Obama and his tax and spend administration failed to understand that some of those he has coined rich are small business owners–job creators–who have been too busy to just count cash all day? Instead, they have been hard at work producing needed services and providing opportunities for others so they can then take care of their own families.

President Obama’s belief in spreading the wealth is even more anti-common sense than it is anti-American. But then again, we already knew he was no Governor Palin. The utter ridiculousness of this spread the wealth mentality came to light quite clearly via a man who called in to Sean Hannity’s radio show maybe a year ago.

The man’s wife was a devout liberal and a student–an ‘A’ student. To drive home to her the insanity of spreading the wealth, he posed the following scenario to her:

Her university decided that because she was a stellar student, she needed to share her grade with others. Although she had worked hard for her ‘A,’ she must keep in mind that others weren’t as fortunate. Maybe they weren’t as smart as she was. Maybe she had worked harder. Whatever the reason, for the benefit of all, it was only right that she give up some of her grade to help boost the grades of others. After all, shouldn’t everyone be equal? Shouldn’t she do her part–share responsibility–by giving up some of her success so that others can have more too? The university decided that was best, so they took away the ‘A’ she earned to spread it around to those who had an ‘F’ or a ‘D’ or some other grade less than the ultimate goal. Under their plan, she could have a mediocre grade of maybe a ‘C’ so that the ‘F’ student could perhaps have a ‘C-.’

Obviously his wife did not think that was a very fair system, and she knew it certainly defied common sense. It didn’t take long for her to see that these exemplary students were not evil people who had been sitting around counting their ‘A’s but rather hard-working, successful people who had a right to the grades on their transcripts. Taking from them to give to others–spreading the grade around–makes zero sense. Most people would agree–even the caller’s wife, liberal and all, agreed.

Why then do we expect the financially successful to play by a different set of rules? Why does the President–the Harvard professor–demonize those who, because of hard work, savviness, or whatever, have been able to reach the ultimate goal of success? Who is government to determine that these people already have made enough and should take up the slack? Not to mention that the rich are already paying an exorbitant amount of taxes while some people are paying none at all.

Now, the school system might consider allowing students to voluntarily sacrifice their high grade so someone producing much less could have more. But that should be that individual’s decision, not the role of the university. Volunteering to give is a world apart from being robbed. Choosing to over-tax, rather than allowing people to keep more of what they earn, is just that: robbery–just as snatching away a student’s grade to give it to another is robbery.

President Obama could learn a thing or two from that man who called into Sean Hannity’s show, and he could certainly learn from Governor Palin. A President Palin would restore the mindset of exceptionalism so lacking in this current administration. As a business owner, she understands that punishing success with higher taxes disincentivizes employment growth. She knows how to balance a budget and prioritize. As a politician, she realizes the value of cutting spending in times of surplus and not just in times of lack. She recognizes that she must be a faithful steward of other people’s money because it’s the right thing to do. And as a public figure, she refuses to demonize the people who love their country and want to see her prosper. Dismissing their concerns and accusing them of not giving enough doesn’t do justice to those who hired you to serve with their best interests in mind. Governor Palin’s record shows that she knows how to serve effectively. As a community organizer, in contrast, President Obama knows how to engage in class warfare and to squeeze more out of evil rich people because, as far as he’s concerned, they don’t need it anyway.

America must not be fundamentally transformed into a one-size-fits-all culture where the American dream becomes a thing of the past, where everyone is the same, and no one is exceptional. We must resist becoming a place where we strive for mediocrity as we embrace some false interpretation of social justice or shared responsibility forced upon us by a morally corrupt, over-taxing, high-spending, future-killing big government.

To Kill a Mockingbird, as many know, remains my favorite novel. Atticus Finch, in his closing argument in the Tom Robinson trial, so eloquently knocks down the theory that we must all be equal in terms of outcome in life. Not so, he says. Equal in worth, yes, therefore equal in a court of law, but not equal in terms of where we’ll all end up. President Obama’s foolish commitment to spreading the wealth around is the equivalent of spreading the grade around. One is as ridiculous as the other. Taking from those who supply our jobs, help the economy, and simply have a right to keep what they earn does nothing to progress this nation and defies any semblance of common sense.

I agree with Governor Palin: 2012 can’t come soon enough.

I’ll leave you with these words:

One more thing, gentlemen, before I quit. Thomas Jefferson once said that all men are created equal, a phrase that the Yankees and the distaff side of the Executive branch in Washington are fond of hurling at us. There is a tendency in this year of grace, 1935, for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions. The most ridiculous example I can think of is that the people who run public education promote the stupid and idle along with the industrious — because all men are created equal, educators will gravely tell you, the children left behind suffer terrible feelings of inferiority. We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe — some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they’re born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others — some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of most men. But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal — there is one human institution which makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, a stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.

-Atticus Finch,
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee


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Dissolving the Palin Prejudice

Posted by Adrienne Ross on December 18, 2009

By Adrienne Ross –

I don’t agree with everything Stephen H. Dinan has to say about Governor Palin, but I am willing to listen to what he has to say. The reason is simple: he’s chosen to listen to what she has to say. In so doing, he has taken the road less traveled by the mainstream media. He chose to travel down Going Rogue Lane to find out who the Governor really is, rather than who the haters want people to believe she is. He chose to get to know her himself. The best way to do that, obviously, is to read her memoir and hear her words “unfiltered,” as she says. He does just that. For this I commend him.

So what led Dinan on this journey?

Over Thanksgiving, I was hiking with my brother-in-law when he commented that he only knew two kinds of people: those who loved Sarah Palin and those who hated her. Nobody was in the gray zone. While I didn’t consider myself a “hater,” I also knew that she had triggered intense reactions in me when she joined the Republican ticket. After Obama’s victory, the fear of her becoming President subsided along with the negative charge, but I had to confess to a lingering prejudice beneath the surface.

One week later, I bought her autobiography, Going Rogue. Why? To dissolve my own prejudice and to better understand how we as a culture can go beyond the extreme political polarizations that have so paralyzed our country.


So reading Going Rogue was something of a test for myself – could I find the place of appreciation, respect, and even love for Sarah Palin?

What I found is that it wasn’t really that hard, actually, simply by taking the time to meet her on her own turf rather than through sounds bites, spin, and polarized media battles. Reading someone’s personal memoir is an intimate journey into their inner sanctum, and I developed a real appreciation for Sarah in reading the book.

This brings to mind a quote from my favorite novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus Finch taught his six year old daughter, Scout, a very important life-lesson when he said:

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

This further reinforces my philosophy that most of the lessons one needs to learn can be gathered from Harper Lee’s classic novel.

Stephen H. Dinan came away from Going Rogue with a deeper understanding of Governor Palin, her upbringing, her love for family, her patriotic passion, and her desire to serve. He acknowledges, too, the prejudices she continues to face. He admits what liberals have been loath to admit–that she arouses fear and worry in people–and he doesn’t exempt himself from those same emotions. Furthermore, he states that this has led to

a barrage of distorted stories, inflated fears, and downright misrepresentations, some of which were quite damaging to her family.

It’s the sad truth, yet it’s refreshing to finally hear someone confess what we’ve always known to be true.

The bottom line is that Dinan had the courage to put aside his own prejudices in favor of the truth. And when he did, he discovered the Governor Palin who always existed, but one he had heretofore been deaf and blind to because he had been listening to and looking at others who themselves didn’t know her. Going Rogue allowed him to get a real look.

Although he doesn’t agree with every position Governor Palin takes, he has come to find what Scout finds at the end of To Kill A Mockingbird when she finally sees Boo Radley, the man she has known only through the rumors and smears of her neighbors. Scout realizes Boo cannot be honestly defined by others. The real Boo Radley would write his own story for Scout Finch to read.

To Kill A Mockingbird ends with this exchange between Scout and her father, Atticus, when she realizes Boo is not the monster he has been made out to be:

“When they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things…Atticus, he was real nice…”

“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”

Dinan made the effort to see Governor Palin.

Stephen H. Dinan’s article is a good one–and it’s published in the Huffington Post, of all places. Maybe they’ll get the message and take a look also.

Read the full article, Dissolving the Palin Prejudice.

(H/T Fay)

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