The Romney campaign has been taking advantage of an out-of-context quote from President Obama’s Roanoke, Va. speech, in which he said, “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.” As is the case with almost everything this president says, right-wing business owners everywhere immediately pounced on this and started insisting that as a matter of fact they did build that, and now they’re trying to trying to characterize the president as somehow anti-business.
But this is a load of crap. Pres. Obama never said you didn’t build your own business. Well, technically, he did say that, but if you look at his remarks in context, it’s clear that what he meant was that you didn’t build it all by yourself. At some point–probably several points–you benefited from some government program or service that helped you build your business and be successful. His point was that we all benefit from government programs, no matter how independent and self-sufficient we think we are.
So it’s the conservative hatred of government that’s anti-business, not Pres. Obama.
Believe it or not, I was making a similar point to my daughter just this morning. She said, “Mommy, look at the picture I drew.” Well, of course it was a great picture and I told her so, but I also gently reminded her that she didn’t draw it alone. “You couldn’t have made this picture by yourself, honey,” I said, “because the crayons you used were delivered to the store by a truck driven on government-funded roads. Not to mention the fact that you wouldn’t even be here if I hadn’t driven on a government road to the place where I met your father. So technically you didn’t even come up with the idea on your own because the government helped us build your brain.”
It’s probably due to my background in liberal politics, but this is one conservative who hasn’t forgotten her debt to government-sponsored infrastructure.
The fact is if you live in an area with a publicly owned sewer system, you can’t even take a dump without the government’s help, so stop acting so high and mighty and admit that government isn’t so bad!
The president’s perspective isn’t that difficult to understand, although it may not fit neatly in the bumper sticker-sized space you’ve reserved in your brain for understanding alternate viewpoints. It goes like this: We all benefit from government programs a, b, c. Therefore, you cannot reasonably object to government programs d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, and z. A vote against the Affordable Care Act is a vote against the postal service that delivers the mortgage coupons that remind you to make your monthly payments so you don’t end up homeless. It’s like slapping a teacher in the face. And not just public school teachers, but also any private school teachers who may have attended public school at one time. Government programs don’t just benefit you but all the generations that come after you (which is only fair, since they’ll be paying for them too).
And Republicans want to undo all of that.
Why do you think Mitt Romney’s said that he won’t take a salary as President? Because he knows he can always become CEO of whatever corporation owns all the roads after he has them privatized. (Duh.) Then I’ll have to go around saying I can’t have another baby without Mitt Romney’s help, and that will be really awkward.
But at least I’m intellectually honest, unlike some people, who won’t admit that government is what enables them to achieve anything in life. Look, I’m not planning to re-elect Pres. Obama either, but stop being a hypocrite and acknowledge that your opposition to expanding government is irrational and against your own interest. It’s the least you can do for the government that bore you (with a little help from dear old Mom).
Madhousewife is the Building Stuff Czar for the Obama administration.